Camel Trail Guide

Everything You Need To Know About Cornwall's Most Popular Cycle Trail

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Camel Trail Overview

A Level Trail Through Stunning Scenery

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18.3 Miles Total

The total route of the Camel Trail follows 18.3 miles of wonderful Cornish scenery with lots of options to break it down into shorter sections.

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Varied Landscapes

The trail encompasses natural woodlands and wild marshlands while skirting the slowly widening river Camel as it broadens to an Estuary and finally meets the sea.

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No Hills

As the trail follows an old railway line it's very flat with a hard riding surface making it suitable for all abilities and also for disabled scooters and wheelchairs.

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No Traffic

The Camel Trail is designated for pedestrians, cylcists and horseriders which means that you won't have to worry about vehicular traffic. The only place where you'll have to dismount for road traffic is in the towns along the trail.

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A Tale Of 3 Towns

The Camel Trail links Padstow, Wadebridge and Bodmin as well incorporating a beautiful branchline up to Wenford Bridge next to the foothills of Bodmin Moor.

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Free To Use

The Camel Trail is a totally free to use and is open at all times. If you haven't got your own bike, you can still walk the trail or alternatively, there are lots of bike hire services who will rent you a bike for the day or a few hours.

The Camel Trail from above
Bike against a fence
Bike in a meadow
2 People Cycling together
2 older People Cycling together
Girl on a unicycle
The old Iron Bridge on the Camel Trail from the air

More Than Just A Bike Ride

A Diverse Journey Through Cornwall's Top Natural Beauty Spots

If you're lucky enough to be able to complete the whole of the trail (whether it's in one go or in stages) the variety of landscapes and habitats which you'll pass through will be pretty incredible. Starting from Bodmin, the trail is lined with old trees which at various points further down the trail form part of wider wooded areas like Hustyns Wood and Bishops Wood. The branch line up to Wenford bridge takes you through a denser wooded valley, often right alongside dramatic sections of the River Camel as it journeys seaward down from its source near Davidstow on Bodmin Moor. From Wadebridge the vista begins to widen as the river Camel becomes defined by its tidal salt marshland which provide a unique habitat for hundreds of species of birds, including Little Egrets, Sandpipers and Shoveller Ducks. Further on towards Padstow as this designated area of outstanding natural beauty becomes the Camel Estuary the views change again as you turn gentle corners in the trail to find sweeping vistas of the river flowing out into the Atlantic.

  • Incredible natural beauty and habitats
  • Landmarks and sites of historical interest
  • 3 very different North Cornish towns to explore

The Camel Trail Main Stations

Padstow | Wadebridge | Bodmin | Wenford Bridge

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18.3

Miles

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96%

Traffic Free

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95.5%

Asphalt or hard Track Surface

Padstow Looking back to Rock from the air
Padstow

Padstow is a quintessential Cornish harbour town with a heavy concentration of famous eateries and art shops to explore.

Restaurants & Art

Wadebridge From Above
Wadebridge

Wadebridge is a thriving riverside town with lots of independent shops and cafes to explore along a quaint pedestrianised high street.

Cafes & Independent Shops

Boscarne Junction Station From Above
Bodmin

Bodmin is the historic former County Town of Cornwall and still has some of its old buildings and churches remaining from many centuries ago.

Historic County Town

Camel Trail Wooded Valley From Above
Wenford Bridge

Wenford Bridge is a tiny hamlet near St Breward on Bodmin Moor and lies at the northern most point of the Camel Trail woodland Branchline.

Quiet Moorland Location

Camel Trail Bike Hire Options

Check out some of the options if you need to hire a bike for your Camel Trail trip

Planning Your Ride

About Each Section of The Camel Trail

While the total length of the Camel Trail is just over 18 miles, it's very easy to break the rides up into shorter sections if you don't have time to complete the whole route in one go. Our map shows the various points where it is very easy to join the Camel trail, all of which have parking options if you need to arrive by car.

  • APadstow: Parking at Railway car park
  • BWadebridge: Parking at Piggy Lane car park
  • DWenford Bridge: Parking at Camel Trail car park
  • EBodmin: Parking at Berry Coombe car park
A-B

Padstow - Wadebridge

5.3 miles | 45mins

The stretch of the Camel Trail between Padstow and Wadebridge starts off with wide Estuary vistas across to sandy beaches and rolling hills. As the trail gets closer to Wadebridge the salt marshes take centre stage where you're likely to spot native and visiting birdlife coaming the mudflats at low tide. The trail goes through an old slate quarry where the Atlantic Express provides mid journey refreshments from an old railway carriage. Arriving in Wadebridge, you'll find a host of cafes, restaurants and shops where you can refuel before the next onward leg or your journey back to Padstow.

B-E

Wadebridge - Bodmin

6.7 miles | 60mins

The River Camel has narrowed by the time it passes beneath the old stone Bridge On Wool and leaves Wadebridge. On this stretch the trail heads through beautiful wooded valleys and tracks alongside the river all the way until Dunmere Halt near the outskirts of Bodmin. Before this there is the option to stop for a glass of locally grown wine at The Camel Valley Vinyard or to head to Camel Trail Tearooms for mid-journey refreshments. At Dunmere Halt, you'll find The Borough Arms for pub food and local ales and beers. The last stretch into Bodmin is tree lined nearly all the way and takes you to the bottom end of Bodmin with just a short extra section on some small roads if you want to ride up and visit the town itself.

E-D

Bodmin - Wenford Bridge

6.3 miles | 55mins

The route from Bodmin to Wenford Bridge has a unique feel as it follows the River Camel's lively journey, gathering momentum from up on Bodmin Moor all the way to the sea. The track bed you're travelling over is from one of the earliest railways in Britain and it has an ancient feel as you pass through the old woodlands, heading to Helland Bridge and its 14th century medieval bridge. On the final stretch of the journey Wenford Clay Dries lie falling into ruin alongside the trail, testimony to the busy industrial past which featured here until not so long ago but would, otherwise, be very hard to imagine in this quiet little nook of Cornwall. Upon arrival at Wenford Bridge, The Snails Pace Cafe will be able to provide you with the perfect reward for your efforts in the shape of lovingly crafted food and drink refreshments before the return journey.

Historic photo of Wadebridge Station with Steam Engine Waiting

Historical Context

A Smoking Past Lays The Track For A Green Future

The Camel Trail is laid over the old track bed of part of London and South Western Railway's route between London and Padstow. The original line from 1831 was one of Britain's earliest, originally built to take sand from the Camel estuary to inland farms to improve their fields. As England's railway network expanded it became part of the private rail network and was used to carry both passengers and China Clay and Granite to and from North Cornwall. The line continued as a dedicated goods line long after the last passenger train chugged out of Padstow Station in 1967. As the Cornish quarrying and fishing industries continued to dwindle it was decided to close the line rather than reinvest in new track when this became necessary in 1983.

  • 1831 - The Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway is built by Sir William Molesworth.
  • 1899 - The line reaches Padstow after continued development by London and South Western Railway.
  • 1967- The last passenger train runs on the line.
  • 1983 - The Railway line is permanently shut down and the track is gradually dismantled.

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