12,000 is the number of miles long the UK’s National Cycle Network is and this number increases each year as more cycling routes are created. The UK’s love of cycling is as strong now as it has ever been; the London Olympics saw Great Britain win a haul of medals; this year’s Tour de France and World Cycling Championship were won by Englishmen.
As well keeping fit, cycling also gives you the chance to explore more, whether it is seeing more of the UK countryside, towns or cities. Many British families also use the opportunity to combine cycling with camping, and will spend a few days exploring an area by bike and stay in a tent or static caravan to really experience the outdoors lifestyle that children love.
I Spy Camping has come up with 3 excellent cycling routes to take you through one of the UK’s most popular regions, Cornwall in the south west of England. The English county is famed for its rugged coastline, perfect for surfing; golden sandy beaches, pretty little villages and stunning countryside.
The three routes to try are:
1. Mousehole to Hayle
The route starts near Land’s End, the UK’s most southerly point (and possibly the best place to start a cycling route) at Mousehole Harbour, and will take you through 13 miles of mostly road surface paths through Penzance, past St Michael’s Mount, a medieval castle built on an island just off the shore off the town and along the coastline to Marazion.
At Marazion, you will leave the coast line and head north towards Hayle using the old road to Gwallon, thus avoiding the steep hill, and then on to the quiet road to St Erth. When you reach Hayle, head towards the beach for a fabulous finish. Hayle is near St Ives, a famous Cornish picturesque town that is well worth a visit.
2. Portreath Harbour to Truro
The route from the harbour at Portreath to Truro is 17 miles long and includes some steep hills, so if you are travelling with young children, you may want to take your time and walk up these.
The route is mostly on gravel surfaces, so make sure you have the appropriate tyres fitted. The route coast to coast is signposted and mostly follows old railway lines. Starting along the path that runs along Tramway Road and follows the signposts carefully through the Cornish countryside passing near Redruth, St Day and on to the Carnon Downs, to Devoran and then on to tackle the steep hills to Truro. Along the route you will see Cornwall’s past in the shape of mineral mines, engines and pits.
3. Bodmin to Padstow
Last but certainly not least is Cornwall’s Camel Trail, one of the most famous cycle routes in the UK. The whole Camel Trail is 19 miles long. Starting at Bodmin’s former prison, follow the old railway lane at Scarlett’s Well Road. For much of the trail, the River Camel is your companion, which gets wider as you near the fishing town of Padstow.
The surface varies from tarmac to gravel along the route, so again make sure that your bikes are suitable for this terrain. It is likely to be busy during the summer months, so make sure you give yourself enough time. You will go through the woods down to the market town of Wadebridge, which is just after half way along the trail, and a perfect stop for a bite to eat. To come back, why not take your bikes on the ferry to Rock from Padstow and explore the north bank of the River Camel.
We hope these cycle routes will be helpful and allow you to enjoy seeing more of this beautiful region of England. More information about where to go camping in the UK, can be found on www.ispycamping.com.
Image by Phil and Pam via Flickr