Wadebridge to Padstow: The Camel Trail
On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Cornwall, we decided to take to the Camel Trail, one of the counties most loved bike trails for an afternoon of laughter, beautiful Cornish scenery and some delicious food from Padstow.
Ever heard of the Camel Trail? Basically it’s a tranquil 18 mile, flat level trail which allows access to some of North Cornwall’s most beautiful scenery. The trail connects Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow together by a disused train line that was once used by the London and South West Railway.
We decided to embark on an adventure and hire bikes from Wadebridge and ride to Padstow, Cornwall’s foodie haven. This part of the trail is just 5 miles long but it’s one of the most popular sections, offering views across the Camel Estuary and plenty of secret beaches, abandoned boats and iron bridges to explore.
The trail is popular with families as it’s extremely flat. I have fond memories of riding my three wheeled bike along the trail with my grandparents. If you don’t own a bike then you can hire a selection of adult and child bikes along with pet and child tents from the various bike rentals in Wadebridge, Padstow and Bodmin. Most adult bikes are charged at around £13-£16 for the whole day.
As we rode through the trail we spotted an abandoned fishing boat that had been left on the side of estuary - I have a weird obsession with abandoned things so we decided to sneak through the bushes to go and explore the boat. I have no idea how long it had been there for but it was very much falling apart and someone had graffitied "“DO NOT GO ON” on the side of the boat. We decided to revisit during golden hour on the way back from Padstow.
We continued the trail towards Padstow and came across the CUTEST outside cabin selling drinks and smoothies. It was a pretty hot day so we decided to make a pit stop and boost the sugar levels with some fruit smoothies - I went for red berries and it was amazing! The cabin is pretty expensive but you can’t really expect any different when you’re in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by insane Cornish scenery.
The journey from Wadebridge to Padstow took us about 2 hours but we did stop every five minutes to take photos or sneak off track to find hidden coves. There are so many hidden beaches that are easy to reach - you just need to keep an eye out for small entrances! Without stopping the Wadebridge to Padstow trail could probably be done within 40 minutes - on the way back it took us about 45 minutes.
Once we reached Padstow we locked our bikes up (you get given locks with the bikes so you can leave them to explore) and went for a mooch around the town and nearby beaches. Padstow is not only famous for its attractive harbour and bustling town but also for its selection of Michelin star restaurants. Josh and I stopped off at Cally’s Oyster Bar and Grill for mussels and wine - the perfect way to refuel for the ride back to Wadebridge! As kids, my sister and I used to grab a pasty, hang our legs over the harbour and watch the fisherman bring in their catch of the day.
The ride back to Wadebridge was beautiful. We didn’t leave Padstow until about 7.30PM so we were riding along the Camel Trail during golden hour - my favourite time of day. The trail was completely deserted compared to the hustle and bustle of the families just a few hours prior. All we could hear were the bird that were nesting along the Camel Estuary and the wheels of our own bikes. We made a stop at the abandoned boat again to discover that the sunset had turned it completely orange.
The Camel Trail really is a fantastic day out for all ages and a great way to see some of North Cornwall’s treasures! Next time I hope to ride the Padstow to Bodmin trail - watch this space!