Cornwall’s Trails, Charms and Adventure Beckons

St. Michael's Way Cornwall

If you’re a nature enthusiast or just love a good walk in the outdoors, Cornwall has some fantastic hiking trails to explore! From rugged coastal paths with stunning sea views to serene woodland trails, there’s something for everyone. Let me guide you through some of the best hiking trails in Cornwall:

South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path is an absolute gem, stretching around 630 miles along the entire coastline of Cornwall. It offers breathtaking vistas of the sea and rugged cliffs. The path is perfect for those seeking an epic adventure, with the option to choose shorter sections or embark on a multi-day trek. Be prepared for some challenging sections, but the rewards are truly worth it!

  • Location: The Cornwall section of the South West Coast Path stretches along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, starting at Marsland Mouth and continuing south-westwards along the rocky coast, past Morwenstow, Higher and Lower Sharpnose Points, Bude, Widemouth Bay, Cape Cornwall, St Just, Whitesand Bay, and Sennen, before reaching Land’s End, the most westerly point of the English mainland.
  • Attractions: The South West Coast Path in Cornwall offers stunning coastal views, coves, old tin mines, lighthouses, and sandy beaches. The path also intersects with other local routes and connects with many other long-distance paths, offering opportunities for even longer expeditions.
  • Visiting: Visitors can walk the South West Coast Path in Cornwall at their own pace, with many starting points and routes to choose from. The path is well-marked and offers a range of walking experiences, from gentle stretches to more challenging hikes. There are also guided tours and organized walks available for those who prefer a more structured experience. Visitors can also explore the nearby towns and villages, such as St. Ives, which is known for its art galleries, museums, and food scene.
  • Recommendations: Visitors are advised to wear sturdy footwear and dress appropriately for the weather, as the path can be challenging and exposed to the elements. It is also recommended to check the weather forecast and tide times before setting out, as some sections of the path may be impassable during high tide. Visitors should also bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are limited facilities along the way.

St. Michael’s Way

St. Michael's Mount Cornwall

For history buffs and walkers alike, St. Michael’s Way is a must-visit trail. Covering approximately 12 miles from Lelant to Marazion, it follows a route that ancient pilgrims took to reach St. Michael’s Mount. As you walk, you’ll immerse yourself in Cornwall’s rich history while enjoying delightful countryside views.

  • Length: St. Michael’s Way runs for 12.5 miles (20.1 km) from Lelant on Cornwall’s north coast to St. Michael’s Mount on the south coast.
  • Location: St. Michael’s Way is located in Cornwall, England, stretching from Lelant to St. Michael’s Mount.
  • Establishment: The footpath was established in 1994.
  • Trailheads: The trail starts at Lelant and ends at St. Michael’s Mount.
  • Use: St. Michael’s Way is used for hiking and pilgrimage purposes.
  • Signposting: The footpath is signposted and waymarked in both directions using a stylistic shell icon based on the Council of Europe’s sign for pilgrim routes.
  • Route: Approximately a third of the route coincides with the South West Coast Path National Trail. The initial segment from Lelant to the western end of Carbis Bay and the final segment to St. Michael’s Mount are part of the South West Coast Path.
  • Highlights: St. Michael’s Way offers a stunning coast-to-coast walk, showcasing the beautiful landscapes of Cornwall. The trail takes walkers through picturesque countryside, historic sites, and coastal scenery.
  • Recommendations: Visitors planning to walk St. Michael’s Way should wear appropriate footwear and clothing for hiking. It is advisable to check the weather conditions and carry water and snacks for the journey.

The Camel Trail

The Camel Trail offers a more leisurely hiking experience, perfect for a relaxing stroll or a cycling adventure. This former railway line stretches approximately 18 miles, including the section from Padstow to Wadebridge. Along the way, you’ll follow the River Camel, passing through picturesque countryside and ending in the charming town of Padstow.

  • Length: The Camel Trail is 18 miles (29 km) long.
  • Location: The Camel Trail is located in Cornwall, England, running from Padstow to Wenford Bridge via Wadebridge and Bodmin.
  • Use: The Camel Trail is used for hiking, cycling, and horse riding.
  • Trailheads: The trail starts at Padstow and ends at Wenford Bridge.
  • Attractions: The Camel Trail offers stunning views of the River Camel estuary and the surrounding countryside. The trail passes through Bodmin and Wadebridge, offering opportunities to explore these historic towns. The trail is also home to several bike hire shops, making it easy for visitors to rent bikes and explore the trail.
  • Visiting: The Camel Trail is open year-round and is free to use. Visitors can explore the trail at their own pace, with many starting points and routes to choose from. There are also guided tours and organized walks available for those who prefer a more structured experience. Visitors can also explore the nearby towns and villages, such as Padstow, which is known for its food scene and beautiful harbour.
  • Recommendations: Visitors are advised to wear appropriate footwear and clothing for hiking or cycling. It is advisable to check the weather conditions and carry water and snacks for the journey.

The Lizard Peninsula

The Lizard Peninsula Cornwall

Prepare to be awestruck by the natural beauty of the Lizard Peninsula as you hike from Kynance Cove to Lizard Point. This roughly 4-mile coastal walk offers turquoise waters, dramatic cliffs, and opportunities to spot local wildlife like seals and seabirds.

  • Location: The Lizard Peninsula is located in southern Cornwall, England, and is the most southerly point of the British mainland. The area measures about 14 by 14 miles (23 km × 23 km).
  • Geology and Natural Beauty: The Lizard Peninsula is known for its unique geology and rare plants. The area is surrounded by sea, and the valleys of the River Helford and Loe Pool form the northern boundary. The coastal scenery is magnificent, with offshore rocks, rugged cliffs, and small coves. The local serpentine rock is used for building, and the area is designated as a National Character Area 157 by Natural England. The Lizard Peninsula is also part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
  • Attractions: The Lizard Peninsula is a haven for exceptional plants and flowers, and its coastline is dotted with little fishing harbors and gorgeous sandy bays fringed with rare rock formations. Visitors can hike the South West Coast Path, which connects all of Cornwall’s coastal towns and villages, and explore the area’s many beaches, historical points of interest, and hiking opportunities. At Lizard Point, visitors can also find cafes and a small art studio, as well as the most southerly point of the British mainland.
  • Visiting: The Lizard Peninsula is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Visitors can explore the area’s natural beauty and historical significance, with many starting points and routes to choose from. There are also guided tours and organized walks available for those who prefer a more structured experience. Visitors can also explore the nearby towns and villages, such as Helston and Falmouth.
  • Recommendations: Visitors are advised to wear appropriate footwear and clothing for hiking or exploring the coastline. It is advisable to check the weather conditions and carry water and snacks for the journey.

Tintagel to Trebarwith Strand

If you’re a fan of legends and coastal panoramas, this hike is a must-do. Follow the path from the legendary Tintagel Castle to the beautiful Trebarwith Strand beach. Explore the castle ruins and soak in the stunning scenery along the way.

  • Circular Walk: There are circular walks available that start from Tintagel Church and lead to Trebarwith Strand. These walks follow quarrymen’s trails along the cliffs of Tintagel, passing by the Thunderhole blowhole and ending at the long sandy beach of Trebarwith Strand.
  • Length and Difficulty: The walk is approximately 6.5 miles (10.5 km) long and is generally considered moderately challenging. It takes an average of 3 hours to complete.
  • Coastal Scenery: The walk offers stunning coastal scenery, with views of the cliffs, the sea, and the sandy beach at Trebarwith Strand. It provides an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the North Cornwall coastline.
  • Historical Significance: Tintagel is known for its association with the legend of King Arthur, and the walk passes by Tintagel Castle, which is believed to be the birthplace of King Arthur. This adds a historical and mythical element to the walk.
  • Trail Information: The walk follows tracks and trails that were once used by donkeys carrying slate from the coastal quarries of Trebarwith to Tintagel Haven, where the slate was loaded onto ships. The trail provides a glimpse into the area’s industrial past.
  • Duration and Starting Point: The circular walk can be started from either Tintagel Church or Trebarwith Strand. The duration of the walk and the starting point can be adjusted based on personal preference and fitness level.
  • Additional Resources: There are online resources, such as iWalk Cornwall and AllTrails, that provide detailed maps, directions, and reviews of the Tintagel to Trebarwith Strand walk.

Cardinham Woods

For a peaceful woodland walk, head to Cardinham Woods. It features several walking trails of different lengths, suitable for all ages and abilities. The woods offer a serene atmosphere, allowing you to connect with nature and uncover ancient woodlands and scenic views.

  • Location: Cardinham Woods is located in central Cornwall, near the town of Bodmin.
  • History: Cardinham Woods were once deciduous woodland but are now plantations of conifers managed by Forestry England. The area has a fascinating history, with evidence of its past visible on the waymarked walking trails. Two freestanding Celtic crosses of stone, bearing inscriptions in Latin, have been found in Cardinham, and both had been embedded in the walls of the fifteenth-century church.
  • Attractions: Cardinham Woods offer stunning viewpoints, nature walks, and cycling trails through a forested valley. There are four waymarked trails to explore, ranging from easy to challenging, and numerous tracks to explore. The area is popular with cyclists, walkers, horse riders, and dog owners. There is also a cafe with gourmet home cooking.
  • Visiting: Cardinham Woods are open year-round, and there is no admission fee. Visitors can explore the area’s natural beauty and historical significance, with many starting points and routes to choose from. There are also guided tours and organized walks available for those who prefer a more structured experience. Visitors can also explore the nearby town of Bodmin, which has a rich history and several attractions.
  • Recommendations: Visitors are advised to wear appropriate footwear and clothing for hiking or cycling. It is advisable to check the weather conditions and carry water and snacks for the journey. 

Activities and Adventures in Cornwall

Cornwall’s Trails, Charms and Adventure Conclusion

Remember, always check the weather and plan your hikes accordingly. Wear proper hiking gear, bring some snacks, and have your camera ready to capture the mesmerizing beauty of Cornwall’s landscapes.

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