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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 28 April, 2023

This superb 18-mile multi-use (cycling, walking and horse-riding) trail follows the route of a disused railway line through spectacular Cornish countryside. Following the Camel River, the trail passes through woodland and across mudflats to the picturesque Camel Estuary that separates the towns of Padstow and Rock.

It’s mainly traffic-free all the way, easy to access, and packed with landscape and wildlife designations, and close to pretty villages for resting and refuelling.

While you’re there

The trail passes right by the Camel Valley Vineyard, arguably Britain’s best vineyard, that produces award-winning sparkling wines. Stop in for a vineyard tour and tasting, but be sure to book ahead.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: 3.5 hours

Getting there & doing it

The easy-to-follow trail runs between Padstow and Poley’s Bridge at Wenfordbridge (near Blisland), following the Camel River all the way. If you take it easy, it’s about 3.5 hours cycling one way without stopping (Padstow to Wadebridge one hour, Wadebridge to Bodmin one hour, Bodmin to Wenfordbridge 1.5 hours). The route has also now been joined to the Camelford Way through to Camelford, adding an optional 8 further miles.

Most people hire bikes in Padstow or, for a short ride, from Wadebridge; overnight hire is also possible. Try Padstow Cycle Hire or Bike Smart in Wadebridge. If you only want to cycle one way, Go By Cycle offer a bike collection service (as long as you hire from them). They’ll deliver (and collect) hire bikes to you anywhere in Cornwall. For horse riders, Hallagena Riding offers 5- to 6-hour rides that also take in Bodmin Moor.

The Camel Trail Tea Gardens, halfway between Wadebridge and Bodmin, is a great stop for light lunches (using locally sourced produce where possible) and, of course, a traditional Cornish cream tea.

At the Wenfordbridge end, detour off to the Blisland Inn at Blisland, one mile off the trail. This popular homely and hearty pub serves good home-cooked pub food and several local ales on draught.

When to do it

The trail is accessible all year round. The experience is obviously weather dependent, though hardly souls go in all conditions.

May and September are best, with fine weather and fewer crowds. UK summer holidays in July & August (usually) have the best weather but also the most visitors – it’s hugely popular and gets unpleasantly crowded.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Padstow Harbour Hotel

Padstow, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[3.2 miles]

A luxury boutique gem, ideally located overlooking the picturesque coastal town of Padstow. Stunning sea views, easy access to beautiful beaches, and close to top attractions.

Official star rating:

St Moritz Hotel

Trebetherick, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[4.8 miles]

Lovely art deco-inspired boutique in a cracking location between the boating haven of Rock and the surfing hotspot of Polzeath. Great for families.

Official star rating:

Scarlet Hotel

Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[11.4 miles]

Glamorous, 37-room luxury boutique hotel situated on rugged cliffs overlooking Mawgan Porth Beach, with a superb Ayurvedic spa. Adults only.

Official star rating:

Watergate Bay Hotel

Newquay, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[13.6 miles]

Iconic, family-friendly boutique hotel set just above the vast golden sands of spectacular Watergate Bay. Great for all ages, especially families and groups.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

A region of craggy cliffs, sheltered creeks, glorious sandy beaches and quintessential villages – rich in local life, pagan legend and delicious, locally-made food and drink.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

The Seafood Restaurant

Padstow, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[3.2 miles]

Iconic seafood restaurant in Padstow – flagship of the group owned by celebrity seafood chef Rick Stein – is a Cornwall institution.

Best for ages: 13+ | £50

Bodmin Jail [ghost hunting]

Bodmin, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[13.3 miles]

Former 18th-century prison offering a fascinating glimpse into Victorian and Georgian crime and punishment. Excellent heritage tours and night time ghost hunts.

Best for ages: 7+ | £19

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Crabbing at Padstow Harbour

Crabbing at Padstow Harbour

Padstow, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[3.3 miles]

If you are staying in the Padstow area, grab the kids and head to Treyarnon Bay Beach and spend an afternoon crabbing on the quay. You can buy crablines and bait when you get there. Great fun for all ages.

Best for ages: 4+ | Free | 1-3 hours

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Tarquin’s Gin School

Tarquin’s Gin School

Padstow, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[3.4 miles]

A highly-regarded distillery producing award-winning gin using only locally-sourced and organic botanicals, and a traditional copper pot still. Book in for tours of the production process, onsite tastings – and the chance to make your own bespoke bottle of gin.

Best for ages: 18+ | £85 | 2 hours 30 mins

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Overview >
exteriro landscape shot of the terrace at the Trevibban Mill Vineyard

Trevibban Mill Vineyard

Padstow, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[4.5 miles]

This family-owned winery and orchard produces a range of award-winning still and sparkling wines, as well as apple juice and cider. The offer guided tours of the vineyards and orchards, that end with wine tastings in the on-site tasting room.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Overview >
Stunning blue sky above Lusty Glaze Beach Newquay Cornwall England UK Europe

Adrenaline at Lusty Glaze Beach

Newquay, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[16.6 miles]

If it’s adrenaline you want, head to the specialist adventure activity centre at privately owned Lusty Glaze Beach, Newquay, for thrills including abseiling, coasteering, assault courses (above and below ground), and a 120ft high, 750ft long zip wire.

Best for ages: 4+ | Free

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