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Enjoy a quiet and easy section of the Camel Trail along the lovely wooded banks of the River Camel.
Minimum time 2h00
Distance 10 miles (16.1km)
Suggested map OS Explorer 109 Bodmin Moor and 106 Newquay & Padstow
Start/finish Camel Trail car park at Dunmere, grid ref: SX 047675
Trails/tracks well-surfaced former railway track
Landscape wooded river valley
Public toilets The Platt, Wadebridge
Tourist information Wadebridge, tel 08701 223337
Bike hire Bodmin Bikes and Cycle Hire, Bodmin, 01208 73192
Recommended pub The Borough Arms, Dunmere
Notes Busy road through centre of Wadebridge to rejoin the Camel TrailWrite a review of this bike ride
© Automobile Association 2008. © Crown Copyright Licence number 100021153
Bodmin lies just off the A30. From the centre of town follow signs for Wadebridge, along the A389 (Dunmere Road). After about 1 mile (1.6km) the road drops downhill. The Borough Arms will be seen on the left. Turn left through the car park into the official Camel Trail car park.
1 The Camel Trail is clearly accessed from the car park. Push your bike down the steep ramp to join the old railway track. A granite block displays a map of the 17-mile (27.4km) trail from Poley's Bridge to Padstow. The railway line from Wadebridge to Dunmere Junction, and then to Bodmin is the third in the country, and the first steam-hauled railway in Cornwall (others used horse power). The Wadebridge to Padstow line opened in 1889 and closed in 1967. Turn left, soon crossing the River Camel, which reaches the sea at Padstow.
2 Continue on past the end of the Bodmin and Wenford Steam Railway at Boscarne Junction. Boscarne Junction was linked to the main line at Bodmin Road (now Parkway) in 1888. Pass round a staggered barrier and over a small lane; continue through woodland.
3 Cross the next lane via a gate (a left turn here will take you to Nanstallon, site of a Roman fort); you'll see the Camel Trail Tea Garden on the right. Cycle past access to the Camel Valley Vineyard (right) and continue through pretty, mixed woodland - oak, ash, beech, spindle, hazel and holly - with glimpses of the River Camel through the trees left. Pass Grogley Halt, where there are picnic tables and access to the river (popular with salmon fishermen here) on the left.
4 Pass through a cutting and then by beautiful stone and slate cottages at Polbrock. Pass under a bridge and look left for access to the riverbank (note cycle racks on the side of the trail). Pass the grass-covered Shooting Range Platform on the left. Cross the Camel again: look ahead right to see the edge of Egloshayle, on the west bank of the Camel. The name means 'church on the estuary', and the church tower soon comes into view across the river meadows and reedbeds.
5 Pass under a small bridge to reach Guineaport Road. Follow this quiet residential road towards Wadebridge, passing the old station on the left (now the John Betjeman Centre - Sir John Betjeman is buried at St Enodoc Church, near Brea Hill on the Camel Estuary). Follow the road as it bears left to reach a roundabout, with the cinema opposite. Turn right down The Platt (once regularly flooded so boats were drawn up here in the 19th century). Wadebridge, dating back to the early 14th century and situated at the lowest crossing point of the Camel, makes a good focus for the ride. There are plenty of pubs and cafés, and it's worth taking a look at the much-altered medieval bridge across the Camel, believed by some to have been built on sacks of wool.
6 If you want to keep going on the Camel Trail keep straight ahead at the next roundabout along Eddystone Road passing the tourist information (and various cafés) on the right. Granite for the rebuilding of the Eddystone lighthouse, off Plymouth, was shipped from Wadebridge Town Quay. At the next roundabout take the third exit (by the bike hire shops) and you'll be back on the Camel Trail again. Return along the trail to the car park and The Borough Arms at Dunmere.
The River Camel rises on Bodmin Moor. Like Dartmoor, over the county boundary in Devon, it is a raised granite plateaux, part of the same huge belt of ancient rock that outcrops to form Penwith in west Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly off Land's End.
Bodmin and Dartmoor are characterised by the presence of tors, heavily weathered outcrops of granite: Bodmin's most famous is the Cheesewring. The highest point on the moors is Brown Willy (1,368ft/417m) and many of Cornwall's beautiful rivers rise on the boggy moorland heights. An old name for this upland tract was 'Fowey Moor' - the source of the River Fowey lies just below Brown Willy. There is evidence of extensive Bronze Age occupation, in the form of megalithic chambered tombs, standing stones and stone circles dating back over 4,000 years. Tin and copper were mined on the moor from the mid 18th century, and china clay - one of Cornwall's most important sources of wealth - was mined from 1862 until 2001. Bodmin Moor is also recorded for posterity in Daphne du Maurier's classic novel Jamaica Inn.
This is an easy ride along a pretty, wooded section of the old Bodmin to Wadebridge railway line - now the Camel Trail - and you'll be in Wadebridge before you know it. You can extend the ride by passing through the town and rejoining the Camel Trail along the beautiful Camel estuary to Padstow (see The Camel Trail - Edmonton to Padstow).