The Camel Trail, Cornwall
Ting Dalton loves travelling with her son and writes a fab travel blog called Travel Monkey. She can be found tweeting @my_travelmonkey
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When we’d heard from guests at Coombe Mill that hiring bikes and cycling along The Camel Trail was a fun thing to do for the whole family, we thought it would be the perfect way to spend an afternoon. So, we waited for a sunny day and headed down to Wadebridge where there are several hire bike shops situated close to the start of the trail. We only chose to do the five mile journey from Wadebridge to Padstow, but you can also head as far as Bodmin.
The Camel Trail is a 17-mile traffic free route based on a historic railway track. The Padstow to Wadebridge line was opened in 1899 providing access from Waterloo via Okehampton and Launceston, but the section from Wadebridge to Poley’s Bridge is one of the oldest in the world and was opened in 1834. Initially it was intended to bring sea sand from the estuary to farms inland. Bodmin through to Wadebridge was connected to the mainline system and operated until 1967, whilst the line between Bodmin and Poley’s Bridge, which was only used for freight, was closed in 1984.
The helpful assistant at Bike Smart offered us a bike with a trailer for Monkey to sit in, but we thought he would prefer to sit closer to one of us, so opted for the child seat instead, which had tight-fitting safety straps. He also helped size up the all important cycle helmet.
The three of us were buzzing with excitement. This was the first time Monkey had ever been on the back of a ‘big bike’ as he referred to it. And in all honesty, it was the first time hubby or I had ridden one for some years. I was a bit wobbly to begin with, but the age old saying of ‘You never forget how to ride a bike’ is so true because after just few minutes we were well on our way – and Monkey was encouraging the pair of us to race!
We were told that the route to Padstow would take us approximately 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. And that’s what we did, took our time, stopping on occasions to admire the view along the way.
We managed long stretches without seeing other people but when we did, monkey would tell us to ring our bells! Even though hubby started complaining about how uncomfortable his saddle was, I have to say it didn’t feel like a chore at all – the sun was shining, the views were magnificent and we peddled jovially along on a flat path that didn’t require too much effort. Even the unfit folk would be able to manage the trail.
The scenery itself coming into Padstow was very pretty, the tide was far out and because it was such a clear day we were able to see for miles across the Camel Estuary towards Rock.
Once we got to Padstow, we were surprised to see how many other bikes were parked up and after making sure we had chained them up properly, we strolled into Padstow and enjoyed a fish and chip lunch, before having a wander around the harbour, buying some souvenirs and then heading back to the bikes for our homeward journey.
Monkey was so exhausted by our outing he even managed to nap very uncomfortably on the back of the bike with his head lolling from side to side. The ride back hardly took any time at all and it was a fantastic outdoor activity for us to do in the afternoon as we got to inhale the fresh air, burn off a few calories and have a fun. Highly recommended and even though this was a few weeks ago, we still fondly talk about the few hours we had cycling along this route now. Would we do it again? Most definitely!