Cornwall has enchanted visitors with its rugged shoreline, quaint fishing villages, and emerald wooded valleys for centuries. In this Collection, we introduce you to the Cornish Way which is guaranteed to make you fall in love with this beautiful seaside county.
You will discover the Cornish Way in seven stages from Bude to Land’s End. Ranging in length from 17 miles (28 km) to 34 miles (53 km), the routes are suitable for most levels of riders. But, bear in mind that the rolling Cornish hills that make up the much-loved coastal landscape are gruelling and every stage includes enough elevation gain to make your muscles scream. You will climb over 10,000 feet (3000 meters) in total.
Culinary delights such as fresh fish, ice creams, St Austell pints, and an abundance of Cornish pasties will keep you energized during your adventure. You can even visit Cornwall’s very own vineyard on the sun-soaked sides of the Camel Valley. Each stage ends in a town or village with accommodation options to ensure you are not only well-fed, but also well-rested.
As most of the route follows along peaceful country lanes and much-loved cycle paths such as the Camel Trail, any bike is suitable for this ride. You will follow the National Cycle Network routes 2, 3, and 32, which are signposted.
Wildlife enthusiasts will be spellbound by the Cornish Cycleway – with luck on your side, you might spot a variety of rare birds such as peregrines as you ride through various natural habitats like woodland, regenerated heathland and luscious valleys. The route also passes the Eden Project, a fascinating collection of futuristic biodomes showcasing plant species from around the world.
Every twisting corner of the Cornish Way brings more delight: stunning villages such as Portloe, Portmellon and Mevagissey, regal estates, industrial heritage, Victorian railways and long-forgotten gardens are all waiting to be explored.
The Cornish Way begins in Bude, a popular surfing town on the coast. As Bude doesn’t have a train station, the easiest way to reach the starting line is via Penzance or Exeter. Alternatively, you could travel by car.
Life in Cornwall seems to pass slowly: fishing boats gently rock in the harbors, daily life plays out on the cobbled streets of quaint villages, and the sea quietly laps golden sands. With so many beautiful scenes to take in, don’t rush. Relax into your saddle and enjoy every moment.
For more information about visiting Cornwall, visit: visitcornwall.com
For information about traveling to Bude, visit: visitbude.info/bude/getting-to-bude
Stage one is a hilly introduction to Cornwall’s delights. Today, you will climb 1738 feet (530 meters) as you ride 22 miles (36 km) from Bude to Camelford.Thanks to its great surf and pretty streets, Bude is one of the most popular towns in Cornwall and is worth exploring before you set off. From Bude, you can choose between two routes: hug the coast in the direction of Widemouth Bay or follow our suggested route through Marhamchurch. The route along the coast is much hillier, but offers great views if you have a suitable set-up and fitness level. Bring enough snacks along for your adventure, as you will not find many shops until you reach Camelford. You will mostly follow isolated lanes as they snake through stunning rural landscapes.You will leave Bude via a cycle path which follows the Bude Canal and River Neet. After 7 miles (11 km), you will pass through Week St. Mary, a pleasant village with a shop. Next, you experience the Cornish countryside in all its glory: luscious farmland, trickling streams and winding hedge-lined lanes. Bear in mind that the cycle route signs are painted on the road from Davidstow. When you reach Camelford, you have arrived at your destination. Legend has it that Camelford was the legendary town Camelot of King Arthur and his Knights. Today, you will find plenty of accommodation and restaurants here.
With the coast behind you for the time being, stage two will guide you through inland Cornwall: lonely moorland, sun-soaked hills and pretty rivers. You will ride 20 miles (33 km) from Camelford to Bodmin. For the first 9 miles (15 km), you will cycle along Bodmin Moor, an impressive stretch of moorland with a rich past. Shortly before Bisland, you will drop down from the moors and join the River Camel and the Camel Trail, a traffic-free cycle path. The Camel Trail is one of the most famous cycle routes in the UK so you will meet plenty of other cyclists here, especially during summer. Despite the crowds, this is a lovely section of the Cornish Way. Follow the river as it winds through a luscious valley and through Hellandbridge village. Shortly before the turn for Bodmin, you can take a short detour to visit Camel Valley Vineyard, and enjoy a glass of wine to celebrate the end of stage two. Your journey finishes in Bodmin. Although the town is perhaps not the prettiest in Cornwall, it has an interesting history being one of Cornwall's oldest towns. You will find a range of accommodation to suit any budget, as well as diverse restaurants to refuel after your ride.
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Stage three is a varied 18 mile (29 km) ride from Bodmin, through gorgeous landscapes and back to the coast in St Austell. Today you can visit some of Cornwall’s iconic sites such as the world-famous Eden Project. Shortly after leaving Bodmin, you will explore the beautiful Lanhydrock estate before riding deeper into the countryside. Although stage three has no big climbs, the rural lanes dip gently up and down through the picture-perfect scenery. The landscapes are truly special: take your time as you ride by Helman Tor and Breney Common, passing countless postcard views along the way. Luxulyan is a convenient village to stop for lunch before continuing along forgotten lanes following the river. An enchanting wooded valley will take you to The Eden Project, an incredible collection of biodomes. Don’t forget to mention that you arrived by bicycle as you will receive a special discount. Next, you will drop down towards St Austell, your final stop. As one of the largest towns in Cornwall, St Austell has loads of things to see and do. You can try a pint at the St Austell Brewery, relax at the spa in the Cornwall Hotel or take a dip in the sea at Pentewan Beach. You will also find a huge range of hotels, holiday rentals and camping spots in and around the town.
From enchanting lost gardens to picturesque fishing villages, stage four is a magical ride. Today is the toughest section of the Cornish Cycleway: you will ride 25 miles (40 km) gaining 2034 feet (620 meters) in elevation. From St Austell, you will drop down through the countryside along a cycle path that follows the St Austell River. A climb brings you to the spectacular Lost Gardens of Heligan before descending into Mevagissey. With its picture-perfect harbour and cottages, Mevigessey is a delightful town that ecompasses the very best of Cornish charm. You will find plenty of places to stop for food here. Next, you will continue to Portmellon, an equally lovely village with white-washed cottages lining its harbor, before heading inland for 6 miles (10 km). This is where the hills begin in earnest as you ride up and over the coastal landscape.After meeting the sea again at Porthluney, you will pass through tiny villages hidden along the shoreline such as Portloe. Flanked by steep cliffs and deep green valley sides, Portloe is often considered to be the jewel in the crown of the Roseland peninsula. The final 4 miles (7 km), take you to Verylan and the beach before arriving in Trewithian. You will find various B&Bs and holiday cottages to rest your legs for the night, as well as a restaurant and tea rooms.
Dramatic valleys, regal country estates and vibrants cities – stage five combines rich Cornish history with unique landscapes. Today you will ride 22 miles (36 km) from Trewithian to Redruth, passing through Truro along the way. From Trewithian, you will wind through the countryside towards the River Fall. Take the King Harry ferry across the water, boats leave every 20 minutes daily. After visiting Tresselick estate, continue North towards Truro. The rugged coastal hills will test your muscles, but reward you with sensational views. On the outskirts of Truro, you will join a cycle path flanked by woodland along the river. Look out for peregrines flying above here.As the only city in Cornwall, Truro has lots to offer. You can wander the historic quays, marvel at Victorian architecture and explore the striking gothic cathedral. You will also find plenty of spots to stop for lunch like backeries selling Cornish pasties. From Truro, cross the river and head back into the countryside. This section of the route reveals Cornwall’s mining legacy as you follow former tramways through disused quarries and mines. At Bissoe, you will join the Carnon River as it flows through the Poldice Valley. The valley is part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, a designated World Heritage Site. After passing Carharrack village which has retained its rural charm despite its industrial past, you will arrive in Redruth. From tasty restaurants to friendly pubs, Redruth has everything you need for a comfortable stay
Stage six does not disappoint as it takes you on a wonderful journey to some of Cornwall’s most-loved sites. Today, you will ride 32 miles (53 km) from Redruth to the iconic St. Michael’s Mount. After navigating Redruth’s busy roads, you will quickly find yourself in the peaceful countryside once more as you ride towards Carn Brea and delve further into Cornwall’s industrial heritage. From Cranborne, you will take a small detour to visit the spectacular Godrevy Coast – austere cliff-edges hug the crashing waves. You may want to follow along the coastal road rejoining the official route in Hayle. Otherwise, you will rejoin the Cornish Cycleway and follow rural lanes as they twist through delightful villages and quiet countryside life before coming into Hayle. With a lovely beach and great range of cafes, Hayle is a good place to stop for lunch. Next, you will cycle a coast to coast as you head from Hayle to Marazion. This 6 mile (9.5 km) stretch follows more winding lanes parallel to the railway tracks. You will ride through St Erth, a lovely village with transport connections to St Ives, one of the most famous Cornish villages. It's worth hopping on the train to visit if you have time. When you arrive in Marazion, you have reached the end of stage six. Home to the magnificent St Michael’s Mount which is perched atop an island a stone’s throw from the shore, Marazion is simply stunning. You will find soft sandy beaches and excellent Cornish pubs, as well as plenty of accommodation in the town.
Your final day of adventure cycling the Cornish Way is just as thrilling as you ride 18.6 miles (30 km) from Marazion to Land’s End. Along the way, you will discover lovely seaside towns, coastal scenes and ancient history. The 7 miles (12 km) are a delightful flat ride along the beach. You will ride through Longrock before joining a cycle path into Penzance, a thriving holiday town with plenty of attractions. You will continue along a cycle path following the coast until Mousehole, where the route turns inland. Mousehole (pronounced “Mow-zull”) is a quaint fishing village with a harbor lined by great pubs. A steep hill out of Mousehole will burn off your Cornish pasties, as you follow lanes through the countryside once more. Be sure to stop off at The Merry Maiden Stone Circle, which reveals an interesting insight into ancient life in the region. After cycling through St Buryan, you will rejoin the coast at Sennen Cove before winding towards Land’s End, the most south-westerly point of the UK and the final stop on your adventure. After basking in the success of completing the Cornish Cycleway and enjoying your last breaths of the sea breeze, you can return home by train from Penzance. Transport connections from Land’s End itself are very limited. Penzance has direct trains to London, Exeter and Plymouth. For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com/stations/penzance