Camel Trail Cycle Route Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Camel Trail in Cornwall, an 18 mile link between Bodmin and Padstow, is possibly the UK’s best-known traffic-free cycling route. Once the route of the London and South West Railway, the route offers flat and very scenic cycling.
The Camel Trail route mostly follows the Camel River and offers spectacular views over the estuary, and later on, out to sea. However, the initial part of the Camel Trail, from Bodmin, is through a very wooded valley, which is beautiful in its own way.
Shortly after Bodmin, the Camel Trail route passes by Boscarne Junction, which today is the far end of the Bodmin and Wenford Railway. It’s a heritage railway, but it connects with the Bodmin Parkway mainline station.
However, the Camel Trail is also a victim of it’s own success: on a hot and sunny weekend, during the summer school holidays, you practically can’t cycle along it, as the route (especially between Wadebridge and Padstow) will be jammed with people slowly walking, dogs running off leads, and children on bikes being their unpredictable selves.
That makes it sound like I’m saying you should avoid the Camel Trail, which isn’t the case. The Camel Trail remains a gorgeous route, but you’ll enjoy it far more when it’s less busy. On busy days, consider instead cycling the Wenford branch (link further below).
Bicycle hire is available in Bodmin, Wadebridge, and in Padstow. Just be careful with where you lock your bike in Padstow, as the Harbour Master apparently hates cyclists.
Some photos by Kirsty Warwick.
Surface on the Camel Trail
Most of the Camel Trail route between Bodmin and Wadebridge is unsealed, and can get a bit muddy when wet. From Wadebridge to Padstow it is tar throughout.
Any kind of bicycle can use the main branch of the Camel Trail including trikes, cargo bikes and tandems.
There are toilets at Bodmin Parkway train station, at The Borough Arms (right alongside the trail), in Wadebridge and again in Padstow.
Hilliness: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Flat)
Refreshment stops: ⭐⭐⭐
Points of Interest
Steam enthusiasts will enjoy the Bodmin & Wenford heritage railway that for a short while runs alongside. At times (check with the heritage railway) it may be possible to take your bike on the train from Bodmin Parkway station.
The Camel estuary is simply stunning, too.
Routes in Cornwall
- St Austell to Mevagissey traffic-free cycle route
- The Camel Trail traffic-free cycle route
- Par Beach Trail traffic-free cycle route
- DayCycle – Camel Trail, Wenford branch
There are no A-frame barriers along the route. There are a few gates, but trikes and cargo bikes should be fine for getting though.
Forecast for the Camel Trail
What the Camel Trail looks like
Getting to the Camel Trail
The route as shown on the map below starts at Bodmin Parkway train station, which is a mainline train station, reachable by direct train from as far as Aberdeen, and also Paddington. Before taking your bike on the train, do read my Bikes On Trains guide.
Because the route starts at Bodmin Parkway train station, it makes for a gorgeous, car-free day out. If you didn’t want to take the train, sadly driving will be your only other option (unless you’re staying somewhere very local).
If you’ll be driving to the route, there’s a dedicated car park behind the Borough Arms’ car park (you need to drive through the pub’s car park to access it). There is also additional parking in Wadebridge, behind the Lidl, adjacent to the Camel Trail.
DayCycle routes are routes can can easily be cycled by most people in a day, or part of a day. Do have a look at all the other DayCycle routes available on WillCycle. Many contain detailed route guides, as well as embedded maps (like the one below).