The Camel Trail, available free 365 days of the year, winds through some of Cornwall’s most beautiful and little-known countryside. Cornwall County Council converted 11 miles of disused railway beside the River Camel from track bed to trail, linking the towns of Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow. An extension follows the river towards Camelford.
It isn’t a road, it isn’t a path, and vehicles are banned. There are many visitors to the Trail each year; some use it daily for jogging or birdwatching, others for an occasional day out walking or cycling. Why not join them? Travel along the Camel Trail and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Camel Valley.
Being an old railway track, the Trail is virtually level all the way. Although not a tarmac surface. it is mainly smooth, ideal for wheelchair users, pram and buggy pushers and people who have difficulty in walking on uneven surfaces. The Trail provides safe and easy access to unspoilt countryside for those people unable to use woodland and coastal paths.
Route 1: Wadebridge - Porthilly - Padstow - Camel Trail - Wadebridge
Length: 15.8 miles (25.5 km) Grade: Easy
The Area: A pleasant cycle ride involving a ferry crossing at Padstow taking a route to the north of the Camel estuary to Rock, ferry to Padstow and the Camel Trail back to Wadebridge.
The Route: From Wadebridge the route first heads towards the church at Egloshayle then on via Lemall, Three Holes Cross, Gutt Bridge, and on to Rock – Take the ferry across to Padstow and then pick up the entrance to the Camel Trail which is then followed back to Wadebridge.
Route 2: Wadebridge - St. Breock - Withiel - Camel Trail - Wadebridge
Length: 14.7 miles (23.5 km) Grade: Easy to Moderate
The Area: This route heads south east out of Wadebridge towards the hamlet of Polmoria then on towards St. Breock downs passing the wind turbine farm en-route, some off-road riding is encountered along a rough bridleway at Tregustick and a ford will have to be crossed just afterwards. The route then goes on towards Ruthernbridge and the Camel Trail back to Wadebridge.
The Route: From Wadebridge the route heads south east to Polmoria and turns right at the Burlawn crossroads heading towards St. Breock Downs then via Mene Gurta and Rosenannon towards Tregustic where a bridleway is taken which is rocky and unmade and often partially under water, after the bridle a ford will have to be crossed which is generally always passable except when the river is in spate. The route then continues to Withiel church and on to Ruthernbridge via Withielgoose, then heads to the unmarked hamlet of Brockton turning right to Polbrock where the Camel Trail is joined for the return to Wadebridge.
Route 3: Padstow - Trevone - St. Issey - Old Town Cove - Camel Trail - Padstow
Length: 18.8 miles (29 km) Grade: Moderate
The Area: For each climb on this route you are rewarded with views of north Cornwall’s spectacular coastline.
This circular route takes you out of Padstow to Trevone and Constantine Bay and around to St. Issey mostly via quiet country lanes – The route then joins the Camel Trail to return to Padstow.
The Route: The route starts at the Ropewalk car-park in Padstow and travels to Prideaux Place and on to Crugmere and Trevone, from the beach at Trevone the route then travels up through the village and on to Harlyn where you travel through the Trevone Golf Club golf course. It then meanders on through Rumford to St. Issey before joining the Camel Trail to return to Padstow.
Route 4: Wadebridge - Lanivet - Helman Tor - Camel Trail - Wadebridge
Length: 20 miles (33 km) Grade: Intermediate
The Area: Part of this route, from Lanivet to Helman Tor, traces the path of the early Christian pilgrims along the Saints Way from coast to coast.
The Route: This route takes the Camel Trail out of Wadebridge to Polbrock and after crossing the Camel river goes on to Wheal Prosper via Brockton, Ruthernbridge and Mulberry Pit. After Wheal Prosper the route heads to Lanivet and then along the Saints Way to Helman Tor (It’s worth stopping off here to explore the Tor and the Logan Stone). Then on to Nanstallon and the Camel Trail back to Wadebridge.
Route 5: Bodmin - Cardinham Woods - Blisland - Camel Trail - Bodmin
Length: 20 miles (33 km) Grade: Strenuous
The Area: Many parts of Cornwall has few trees but this route takes you through the wooded valleys of the River Fowey and the River Camel.
The Route: From Scarletts Well in Bodmin you head into the town centre then on to Tawnamoor, after crossing the bypass the route heads north east to the Old Cardinham Castle and Cardinham village – After Cardinham the route heads to Tresarret where you join the Camel Trail to Dunmere and back to Scarletts Well in Bodmin.
Route 6: Poley's Bridge - Roughtor - Camelford - Wenfordbridge - Poley's Bridge
Length: 20 miles (33 km) Grade: Strenuous
The Area: Passing through a pleasant village perched on the edge of Bodmin Moor you reach the second highest peak in Cornwall. The surrounding countryside is littered with ancient remains. You visit Camelford, in the market place stands the market house with a cupola crowned by a golden camel.
The Route: From Poleys Bridge on the Camel river you climb to St Breward, crossing the moor you arrive at the foot of Roughtor which can then be explored on foot. A short ride brings you to the small town of Camelford. This is the furtherst point of the ride. The return route follows the Camel river switching from one side of the valley to the other ending at Poley’s bridge.
The Camel Trail Cycling Code
- Walkers always have right of way – on busy days, keep on the river-ward side of the Trail and walk two abreast.
- Prams and buggies have right of way. Wheelchairs do too!
- Cyclists must remember that walkers always have right of way. This means that you stop for them; don’t force them into the brambles just because you can’t be bothered to slow down.
- Cyclists must shout “hello” or ring your bell when you approach other users from behind, to let them know you are there. If you can’t get through a gap please stop. If you can’t get round a walker please stop.
- Cyclists must go slowly. The beauty of the Camel Trail is that there arc no obstructions on the route, but it should not be used as a race track!
- Dogs leave a mess. Owners, please take a bag with you and use the dog waste bins at Guineaport and Padstow so the Trail and verges will be pleasant and safe to walk on.
- Dogs chase other creatures – it’s in their nature. Owners, please stop your dog bothering other Trail users, wildlife and adjoining landowners’ stock.
We want you to keep your dog under control – if this means you have to keep it on a lead please do so.
- Cyclists with dogs – be honest; who’s in charge of what when you’re cycling along with your dog on a lead? Or off it, for that matter? Make sure you do not endanger other users.
- Horses must walk at all times. This means no trotting, cantering or galloping. Groups should go at the pace of the slowest or wait for it to catch up. Horses are huge and skittish compared to a toddler on a bike. If your horse is easily spooked don’t let it suffer – take it somewhere quiet.
- Horses are not allowed on NCDC’s section from Nanstallon to Poley’s Bridge