Definitive Guide to the Camel Trail, Cornwall, UK | Cornwall's most popular multi-use trail route
The Camel Trail is 17.3 miles long..
It is a resurfaced railway line..
The entire length is flat & therefore suitable for the disabled..
It's original use was to transport sand inland..
Only a small part of the trail is on roads and shared with normal traffic..
> 50.53616°N -4.93399°W
> 50.54427°N -4.70297°W
^^ click the image for a Cornwall Cycling Map
The original intended use for the railway that preceded the popular Camel Trail was as a means of transporting sand from the rich Camel estuary, all the way up to farms much further inland, so they could use it as fertiliser (moorland soil is often poor due to heavy rainfall and the nutrients washing away). The idea and infrastructure behind the Camel Trail seem's relatively straight-forward to us in this modern age of global satellites and super computers, but back in the 19th century this was no easy task by any means.
0345 268 9252
After it was built it was soon apparent that the rail line could have many uses to the community. It began to ship valuable Delabole slate and china clay (also known as 'white gold') out from further inland onto international ships moored up in Padstow. It was even used to transport fresh fish landed in Padstow inland and on towards London and other major cities back in its heyday. The reason why the trail ends deep in the Cornish countryside at Wenford Bridge is because there was a quarry here which mined the valuable china clay and other valuable minerals contained in this part of the UK.
So why is the Camel trail so flat and easy to ride?
Well, the railway was built in such a way so that the heavy trains laden with sand would not have to negotiate any steep inclines or sharp turns. And it's these characteristics which make it such an excellent cycle trail, especially so for the novice or younger rider.
Many families (locals & visitors) take their young children to the trail to allow them to become more confident cyclists in a virtually traffic free environment.
At one point, there was talk of converting the Camel Trail back into a working railway, but this was flatly rejected by Cornwall Council who manage the trail. The Bodmin & Wenford Railway also have a long term aim to expand from Boscarne Junction all the way up to Wadebridge.
DID YOU KNOW..?
The last working train to use the railway was in 1978; it was used to transport the valuable china clay (aka 'White Gold') from mid Cornwall
It was the first steam powered railway line in Cornwall
Cycling from Padstow to Wadebridge, Dunmere in Bodmin, Cornish towns like; Padstow, Wadebridge or Blisland, pubs along the trail, wildlife you can see, or why not try our quick quiz about the Camel Trail..?!