Beware the typical Cornish ‘B’ road, it’s not for the faint-hearted! Large cars or caravans will find access generally limited. Cornwall has the narrowest roads of all England.
– One of England’s best traffic free bike and hike trails is Cornwall’s Camel Trail near Padstow built over a dead railway track and providing 18 miles (34 kms) of safe, flat, picturesque cycling, through coastal scenes and inland woods – a great family bike route.
– The Clay Trails around the Eden Project are three lovely bike only routes through heathland, lakes, white clay peaks, classic valleys and wildlife woods.
Padstow life. Photo by Olaf Tausch.
Padstow is an historic fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall, recently much favoured as a second-home habitat for affluent Londoners, so it’s now pricey and lively in the summertime and pricey but decidedly quiet in the winter.
Still, it’s attractive, close to some great beaches (particularly Polzeath), bike and hike tracks and and provides superb eating at one of the several establishments owned by chef Rick Stein, if you have a fat wallet. In fact Stein owns so much property in the town that it is sometimes known as Padstein.
– The South West Coast Path runs though Cornwall and a favourite section is the lush 75 miles running from Plymouth to Falmouth, wandering along clifftops and overnighting in charming little towns such as Fowey and Mevagissy, with easy side trips to the Lost Gardens of Heligan or the Eden Project (2-7 days).
– The Saints Way is another popular Cornish hike, but this time 30 miles curling though the centre of the county from pretty Padstow (north Cornwall) across to Fowey (south), following in the steps of Celtic pilgrims. (2-3 days)
– North Cornwall Coast Path, a dramatic 57 mile trek from Hartland to Padstow, taking in this wild, windy and historic area, spending nights in pleasant little weather-beaten fishing villages and towns such as Tintagel (King Arthur’s Camelot according to legend). (2-6 days).
St Ives town with its multiple beaches and quite restrained atmosphere, is on the cusp between North and South Cornwall. There’s not a lot to do but the streets are neither paved with puke nor copulating teenagers and the beaches are superb.