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The Clay Trails [cycling & walking]

Last updated: 28 April, 2024

This lovely 12-mile trail from Truro to Bodmin, consisting of 9 smaller trails, was first opened in 2005 to enable visitors to explore a unique area of Cornwall that was home to Cornwall’s China industry.

The trail takes in a number of top sights including Trelissick Gardens, the River Fal and King Harry Ferry, the fishing villages of Portloe and Megavissey, the Lost Gardens of Heligan and Lanhydrock House. There is also a link to the Eden Project. The views across Cornwall’s china clay country around St Austell are beautiful.

 

Cornwall's clay history

Cornwall has a rich history of clay mining that dates back to the early 18th century. The clay industry became a major contributor to the Cornish economy and provided employment for many local people.

The high-quality clay was used in a variety of applications, including ceramics, paper, paint, and medicine. Today, the industry has declined, but remnants of its legacy can still be seen in the landscape and architecture of the region.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: Up to 4 hours

Getting there & doing it

You can see the various routes and starting points on the dedicated website.

It forms part of the National Cycle Network – more details of the route on the Sustrans website. (NB At time of writing the map on Sustrans was incorrect – use the clay trails website instead).

It takes around an hour to cycle, or 4 hours to walk it all, though of course you can opt to just do specific sections. The path is mainly gravel, so wearing good walking shoes, and mostly traffic-free all the way.

When to do it

The path is walkable all year round, though obviously your experience will improve in better weather.