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Riding in Cornwall – on horseback or bicycle!

One of the best ways to enjoy Cornwall’s scenic natural beauty is on horseback. Cornwall has many riding stables offering riding lessons and treks for all levels of rider.
Horse riding is a wonderful way to relax and appreciate some of the hidden trails and beauty spots that Cornwall has to offer. The advantage of riding is that you are elevated above the moorland and grass, with great views of the surrounding scenery. Swaying in time with the horse’s gait, you are at one with nature which is a great way to enjoy this peaceful environment. You may spot birds of prey overhead and plenty of wild flowers such as primroses, red campions, foxgloves, bluebells and buttercups, depending upon the season.

Trek through woodland, across farmland or up on the moors letting the horse do the hard work. More competent riders can trot steadily along the traffic-free bridleways and break into a canter along grassy trails for an exhilarating ride. Ride along shallow river beds or take a gallop along the firm sand with the sea breeze blowing through your hair. Wherever you want to ride, there are stables in most rural locations of Cornwall.

For the more energetic, rent a mountain bike, or bring your own wheels with you to your Cornish holiday cottage. Cornwall can be hilly and the winding minor roads are barely wide enough for cycling safely. A better option is to use the former rail trails, part of Cornwall’s mining heritage, which are now open as recreational trails.

Mineral Tramways Trails

Known as the Coast to Coast Trail, this 22km route crosses the whole peninsula from Portreath to Devoran on a relatively flat track. Portreath, near Redruth, was once a busy port for exporting copper and importing Welsh coal. A network of horsedrawn tramways was built to move these minerals around the area and the remaining paths now make excellent recreational trails.

The Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast route climbs gently to Scorrier, passing the hamlets of Bridge and Mawla. The landscape changes from mining landscapes to woodlands and shady dells and is most picturesque when passing beneath the Carnon rail viaduct. It ends at the harbour of Devoran, just upriver from Falmouth.

Great Flat Lode Trail

Another remnant from Cornwall’s 19th century mining era is the circular Great Flat Lode Trail around Carn Brea. Interpretive signs add to the interest, giving information about the history of the buildings along the trail. This circular route runs for 10.5km around the old mine workings of Redruth and Camborne, but despite the name it is not flat.

Camel Trail

Arguably the most successful multi-use recreational trail in the country, the Camel Trail runs for 27 km alongside the River Camel. It follows the disused railway from Padstow to Wenfordbridge which once carried sand, slate and china clay. The well-maintained trail passes through Wadebridge and Bodmin, which are great towns to find refreshments, pasties and ice cream. More information about the history and features of the Camel Trail can be found on our article Walking and Cycling on the Camel Trail.

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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