A new pack of cycle routes is available this summer
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.
There is an extraordinary array of wildlife to be appreciated along the Trail. Look for signs of secretive mammals such as fox, badger, rabbit. deer and rarities like otter and greater horseshoe bat. Coppiced hazel is the home of the dormouse, and a few wild service trees have sprung up among the oak, spindle and sycamore.
See foxglove, campion, mullein, madder, violets and snowdrops appear as early as December in some years. Thistle seeds provide food for the goldfinches. The River Camel supports salmon and trout, dipper and kingfisher; on the estuary live bass and mullet, curlew and shelduck; an ever increasing number of little egrets now live alongside the local herons.
A new and exciting pack of cycle routes in the Camel Valley will be available this summer. Six routes varying in length from 4km to over 20km have been selected to provide access to the gorgeous countryside in the vicinity of the Camel Trail.
It has long been apparent that recreational cycling is an increasingly popular pastime for local people and holidaymakers alike. The Camel Trail now attracts in excess of 250,000 visitors annually; at peak times during the summer it can be very busy. The cycles routes cater for those who wish to experience the diverse scenery that North Cornwall has to offer and relish the challenge of local topography. The route itineraries are scenic, historically interesting and clearly marked. Where possible the routes follow quiet country lanes and well-graded bridleways'. Care must be taken on some roads and at some junctions. These are highlighted on the cards. Enabling the routes to be completed with the maximum safety.
The cycle routes all emanate from the Camel Trail, some incorporating part of the Trail itself. Included within the six cycle routes are landmarks that illustrate the disparate nature of the North Cornwall landscape. From the golden beaches of Harlyn and Constantine of the North Coast to the barren and rugged fringes of Bodmin Moor; from Mene Gurta on St Breock Downs to the National Trust gardens at Lanhydrock House.
The Cycle Routes Pack allows access to the "green heart" of Cornwall for those who enjoy exploring. Sample the delights of wooded valleys, burbling streams. historic monuments, and luscious cream teas. All in an afternoon's cycle ride along sublime Cornish lanes. Follow in the grand bardic tradition of Hardy and Betjeman. Cleanse the soul of life's everyday trivialities, and immerse the spirit in the rough-hewn splendour of North Cornwall.
The Camel Trail Cycle Packs are available from most TICs and visitor centres within North Cornwall.
For everyone's safety there is a special code for the Trail:
• 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 - you 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 sIow down.
• Cyclists - 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.
The costs of maintaining the Trail are paid by Cornwall County Council. A donation would be appreciated to ensure the continued existence of the Camel Trail as a recreational route.
The Countryside Officer is responsible for the management and the promotion of the Camel Trail.
The Service produces various leaflets and booklets about the Trail and Service Area and runs an events programme throughout the year.
For further information contact:
Camel Valley Countryside Service,
3/5 Barn Lane, Bodmin,Cornwall, PL3I ILZ;
Telephone +44 (0)1208 78087, Fax +44 (0) 1208 78105.