Padstow, Bodmin and the Camel Trail

This at times testing route will take you along some of the most scenic and pleasant lanes that north Cornwall has to offer and finishes with a gentle spin along the Camel Trail from Bodmin into Padstow. There is even a short boat trip to start the ride. There are ample opportunities to stop for refreshment along the way in the many villages this passes through. And along with plenty of sightseeing opportunities this relatively short ride could easily be stretched out to last the entire day.

Route Description

From the start point just outside the Harbour Masters office, the route runs along Riverside, and around the harbour to quickly arrive at the boarding point for the ferry over the Camel River to Rock.

Once you have arrived in Rock the route now runs broadly parallel to the Camel River for the first five miles but be warned it’s by no means flat. The road out of Rock itself is a short sharp climb. And after a brief respite, the road then climbs again through Porthilly and the Cornwall AONB.

After about 5 miles the route joins the slightly busier B3314 for about 1.5 miles before returning to the quiet country lanes to skirt around Wadebridge and the climb up to Three Hole Cross. After crossing the A39 it’s a short but sharp downhill section again before starting the last major climb of the day up to St. Mabyn. The climb to St. Mabyn is not to be underestimated with gradients reaching 11% at times. However, once you reach the top you can take comfort in the fact that it’s literally all downhill from here.

From St Mabyn the route now meanders through Tredethy and on to join the Camel Trail at Hellandbridge. As you enter Hellandbridge the route crosses the Camel River, and look out for the start of the trail on your right.

Once you join the trail the first three miles or so are generally downhill to the outskirts of Bodmin. From here the trail then turns northwest into Padstow via Wadebridge. Along the trail, there are many places to see and stop at. Because the trail is built on a disused railway line there are even a few old station platforms and buildings to see along the way. If you have time be sure to check out Bodmin and Wenford heritage railway.

The route is almost completely off road from here on in with the only part where you might need to negotiate some roads being around Wadebridge but this is only for a mile at the most.

Note – This route can be started from Bodmin (especially if you use a train to get there). However, it does put the testing, hilly section at the end and we wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re starting at any other point then the short detour in to Bodmin is worth the effort.

Route Summary

Start Point – Padstow Harbour

Distance – 26 miles / 42km

Elevation Gain – 1722ft / 525 metres

Places of Interest

  • Padstow Harbour at the start / finish point.
  • Pehargard Castle Hillfort – just off the route at 13.0 miles
  • Bodmin Jail – at the end of the Bodmin spur of the main trail at 15.0 miles
  • Bodmin and Wenford heritage railway – on the route at 15.5 miles
  • The National Lobster Hatchery aquarium – at the end of the route in Padstow.

Refreshment Stops

  • Blue Tomato Cafe in Rock – immediately after the ferry crossing.
  • St. Mabyn Inn – on the route at the 10 mile point
  • Various places in Bodmin – just of the route at the 15.0 mile point
  • The Camel Trail Tea Garden – on the route at the 16.0 mile point.
  • Various places in Wadebridge – on the route at the 20.4 mile point.
  • Atlantic Coast Express – on the route at the 23.4 mile point.
  • Various places in Padstow at the Start / Finish.

Local Bike Shops

  • Padstow – Trail Bike Hire Unit 6, South Quay, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8BL
  • Padstow – Padstow Cycle Hire ,South Quay, Padstow, PL28 8BL
  • Bodmin – Explore by Bike, Priory Car park, Bodmin, PL31 2DQ
  • Wadebridge – The Wadebridge Bike Shop, 9 Polmorla Walk, Wadebridge, PL27 7NS

Closest Railway Stations

  • Bodmin General – approx 1.2 miles from the route in Bodmin.

Ride With GPS Link –

Link to YouTube video –

GPX file direct download – Click Here

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