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Cycling breaks in Cornwall

If Bradley Wiggins' yellow-jersey-winning success in the Tour de France has inspired you, perhaps a short cycling break in Cornwall could be just the kickstart you need to take up a new sport.
Most visitors to Cornwall are familiar with the Camel Trail, a 17-mile long traffic-free cycleway along a disused railway line linking Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow. Ideal for families and level for most of the way, it is a great trail for a beginner. Experienced cyclists however will want something a little more taxing for their workout!

Cornish Way Cycle Trail

The Cornish Way runs for 180 miles from Land’s End to Bude, almost the whole length of Cornwall, with detours off to Mousehole, Mevagissey, Truro and for those wanting to see the south coast too. At Holsworthy the Cornish Way merges with the West Country Way which goes all the way to Bristol. Although it is impractical to do the whole length from your holiday cottage base, you are sure to be staying close to parts of the Cornish Way which can provide some great day trips on two wheels with stunning views, especially on Bodmin Moor.

The Cornish Way incorporates the First and Last Trail, 25 miles from Land’s End to Hayle; Engine House Trail which is 24 miles from Hayle to Truro; the 45 mile Coast and Clay Trail from Truro to Bodmin; North Cornwall Trail, a 40-mile route from Bodmin to the county border near Bude; St Piran Trail, 34 miles from Truro to Padstow via Newquay and the 17-mile Camel Trail.

Coast to Coast Mineral Tramway

The Coast to Coast Mineral Tramway, which ran between the ancient quay at Devoran on the south coast and the harbour at Portreath on the north coast, makes an interesting 15-mile coast-to-coast ride. Parts of this track are rough and mountain bikes are recommended.

The southern end of the former tramway runs beside Restronguet Creek and the Carnon viaduct. Check out the redundant granite pillars beneath the viaduct that once carried Brunel’s wooden viaduct until the 1930s!

Other industrial relics along the way include the remains of Wheal Jane, one of the last working mines in Cornwall which closed in the 1980s. A less nostalgic relic from the area’s mining history is the lunar landscape of the Poldice Valley which was stripped of its natural landscaping by mining activity.

Stops for refreshments along the way include The Old Quay Inn at Devoran, the Fox and Hounds at Redruth and Rodda’s Creamery at Scorrier where you can pick up fresh clotted cream and other dairy products to take home.

Looe Valley Cycle Route

The Looe Valley offers a scenic 20-mile circular cycle ride along the quiet lanes beside the East Looe River to Liskeard. It roughly parallels the railway line with stations at Sandplace, Causeland, St Keyne and Combe Junction on the outskirts of Liskeard. The route returns via the West Looe Valley through Herodsfoot. Although comparatively short, the ride can be deceptively steep in places and takes around 4½ hours to complete. It includes some off-road sections on woodland trails and 5 steep hill climbs.

Pentewan Valley Trail

Traffic-free, level and ideal for families, the Pentewan Valley Trail is just 3 miles long making a pleasant 6 mile return ride. It runs beside the river from Pentewan Beach, which is broad and sandy, and finishes a short distance from Heligan Gardens.

Bicycle hire

All types of bikes are available from Bissoe Tramways Cycle Hire near Truro from tandems to tag-along trailors for youngsters.

Elm Farm Cycle Centre also provides cycle hire and is on the Coast to Coast Mineral Trail 2 miles from Portreath and Redruth.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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