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Bodmin Moor [walking & horse riding]

  • Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Last updated: 28 April, 2024

Most visitors bypass Bodmin Moor en route to the coast, but they’re missing out; this 80 square mile patch of inland Cornwall boasts imposing granite ‘tors’, wonderful views across bleak moorland, and magical walks through wooded vales.

It’s also rich in history and folklore, with mysterious stone circles including the Hurlers, and legendary Arthurian sites such as Dozmary Pool, said to be the place where the sword Excalibur was clasped by the Lady of the Lake.

As well as myths and legends old and new, Bodmin Moor is recognised for its natural beauty and Bronze Age heritage – the moor is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Horseriding & Walking

If you prefer to explore on horseback, local stables Hallagenna Farm offer an excellent range of horse riding and pony trekking across the landscape for all abilities (plus accommodation for horse lovers). One route includes the famous Camel Trail.

See our recommendations below for two fine short walks up to see Bodmin Moor’s most famous ‘tors’.

Don't miss

One of the most visited places on the moor is Jamaica Inn, the legendary coaching house in Launceston where Daphne du Maurier wrote her excellent 1936 tale of smugglers, rogues and ruffians set in wild, rugged Cornwall landscapes.

While you’re there

Stop at Blisland, with its village green, Norman church, popular pub and nearby Hawk’s Tor; St Neot, with its gorgeous 15th-century church; and Altanun, with its church of St Nonna, the ‘Cathedral of the Moor’.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Jamaica Inn

  • Launceston, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Jamaica Inn. Pub forecourt and sign. Outside tables. Cornish, American and UK flags. Moor in background. location for book by Daphne Du Maurier

Experience

One of the most visited places on the moor is Jamaica Inn, the legendary coaching house in Launceston where Daphne du Maurier wrote her excellent 1936 tale of smugglers, rogues and ruffians set in wild, rugged Cornwall landscapes.

Good for age: 18+

Walk to Rough Tor and Brown Willy

  • Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Weathered slabs of granite at the top of Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor

Experience

Rough Tor and Brown Willy, Bodmin Moor’s highest summits and the setting for the climax of Jamaica Inn, are a relatively easy 5-mile circular walk with great views over the moors. Start at the car park at the end of Roughtor Road.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 2 hours

Walk to the Cheesewring & Hurlers

  • Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Hurlers stone circle at minions on Bodmin Moor Cornwall

Experience

Stop by the ‘Cheesewring’ and the ‘Hurlers’ on this easy, circular 4-mile walk that starts from the (free) car park in the village of Minions. It also takes in beautiful scenery, archaeological sites and mining and quarrying ruins. It starts in

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1-2 hours

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Bodmin Moor is a good place to explore independently by car. For a wide range of information on the area, head for the Bodmin Tourist Information Centre, which also can advise of good walking and provide walking maps. It’s open all year round, Monday to Friday.

For food & drink head to everyone’s favourite Bodmin Moor pub, the Blisland Inn; homely and hearty, it has Toby jugs hanging from the ceiling, home-cooked pub food and several ales on draught.

If you want to stay a night or two, and fancy something a little bit different, why not glamp? There are fully-equipped Mongolian yurts at South Penquite campsite.

When to do it

Days of driving rain and howling winds in winter (December to February) are probably best avoided, unless you fancy yourself as the heroine of Jamaica Inn.