We were staying at Gunvenna Caravan park near Port Isaac, which is a part of Cornwall I have not been to for a long time. We were looking for something to do which would involve the whole family, My wife Sue and myself, Maddy age 6 and Rosie who is just 1 year old. We had read about ‘The Camel Trail’ in North Cornwall, which is a cycle friendly path made from an old disused railway track. In actual fact The Camel Trail goes from Padstow to Bodmin and also has an extra arm which goes from Bodmin to Wenfordbridge. The distances involved are Padstow to Wadebridge, 5 miles, Wadebridge to Bodmin 6.1 miles and Bodmin to Wenfordbridge 7.1 miles.
Our original intention was that Sue would walk along with Rosie in the pushchair and Maddy and I would hire some bikes. We didn’t do this because when we arrived at Padstow Cycle Hire we realised they had every conceivable combination of bike you could wish for. Adult bikes came in the form of hybrids, mountain bikes, tricycles, tandems. Babies and small children could be accommodated in trailers, child seats or ‘tagalong’ bikes.
We opted for two Claude Butler hybrid adult bikes for Sue and me, mine was pulling a trailer for Rosie. Maddy had a shiny purple Dawes Blowfish child’s bike.
We set off from Padstow heading towards Wadebridge, within five minutes we were cycling over a lovely old railway bridge which spans the Little Petherick Creek. The Camel Trail hugs the south side of the River Camel giving lovely views over the estuary towards Rock and the disused quarries on the north bank of The Camel.
Roughly halfway along was a little stall setup based on tricycles, Treats-on-Trikes they were called, where you could buy cups of tea, cold drinks, ice creams and of course Cornish Pasties.
All the way along the Camel Trail people are on bikes, walking and running, but above all everyone seemed to be smiling. It didn’t seem too long before we were going under the A39 bridge and Wadebridge was looming. At Wadebridge we could have carried on to Bodmin, but we thought that was probably enough for the time being so we had fish and chips at a restaurant called ‘The Glass House’ and then headed back.
So there you have it, converting a disused railway into a cycle path is just a brilliant thing to do, it means that there are no steep hills, excellent scenery and no cars.