Falmouth, Bissoe and Cornish Mining Trails — South-West Gravel Gold
Includes an off-grid segment
Navigation instructions may be limited.
0.62 mi in total
Bike Touring Highlight
Mountain Biking Highlight
Katherine Moore planned a mountain bike ride.
April 14, 2020
Unjustly, the lanes and trails of Cornwall often get overlooked for cycling. Perhaps because they’re right down the end of the country, or perhaps in part because of their wicked steepness. If you thought Cornwall was all flat sandy beaches, you’d be wrong.
Nestled in the steep river valleys of this coastal county, a wealth of bridleways, forest trails and old mining paths make this the perfect place to explore by gravel, cyclo-cross or mountain bike. This route takes in a bit of everything, from the artist’s coastal town of Falmouth to the quiet trails of the Poldice Valley, before climbing high up onto Carn Marth and following the mining trails past the crumbling ruins of this county’s past.
Starting at the central railway station in Falmouth, you’ll head north out of the town on back streets, through pretty Penryn and along lanes to Devichoys Wood. After some fun on the woodland trails to Perran Foundry, you’ll take a short stint along the main road to the west toward Devoran to reach the traffic-free gravel trail alongside the Carnon River.
Pass under the Carnon Viaduct along the trail to Bissoe, where you’ll find a bike shop and cafe at Bike Chain. They do awesome cakes and great cream teas, not to be passed by lightly! Now into the Poldice Valley, there’s a huge network of trails, from easy gravel tracks in the valley bottom to more challenging XC climbs and downhill trails. Why not take some time to explore this area?
Next on the Tour is the climb up Carn Marth, one of the tallest hills in the area which will reward you with incredible views of the rural heartland of Cornwall. Pass by the pond, formerly a granite quarry, before descending to follow the mining trails to the west.
You’ll rumble along on these brilliant hilltop trails, past countless ruins of old mining works; buildings, wheelhouses and chimneys to West Wheal Francis. From here you’ll head back south-east toward Falmouth, enjoying a quiet stretch of bridleway around the shores of Stithians Lake. If you’re lucky, you might even see some windsurfers here!
From Stithians village you’ll follow lanes back into town, finishing along Falmouth Harbour, the perfect place to enjoy fish and chips or a delicious Cornish pasty.