Most visitors to Cornwall would be forgiven for gravitating towards the coast for a breath of fresh air and to stretch their legs and while we can’t deny the beauty of those seaside paths, there are actually some wonderful woodland walks to discover too. Shady footpaths, often through fascinating historically rich landscapes, that make an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the beaches.
So because studies have also shown that regular walks in nature are enormously beneficial to both our physical and mental health, here is our little guide to some of Cornwall’s best woodland retreats.
Cardinham Country Park
Not far from Bodmin, Cardinham Woods is one of the largest areas of woodland in Cornwall covering roughly 650 acres. All this space makes it ideal for running wild, so great for children and dogs. There are numerous signposted walking and cycle trails to enjoy or you can just set out and see where the path takes you!
If you enjoy close encounters with wildlife then head to Tehidy Woods. Once part of extensive landscaped gardens belonging to the Basset family, Tehidy is now home to plenty of birdlife, taking advantage of the old waterways, and also some very friendly squirrels. Rich in flora and fauna it is also possible to take in some of the wild north coast on a relaxing circular route from the woods. The best of both worlds!
Tucked away in a secluded valley near the village of Ponsanooth, Kennall Vale was once the site of a gunpowder works. Here you will discover a beautiful woodland dotted with the ruined remains of past industry, just adding to the atmosphere. A constant companion is the roar of the River Kennall which pours through the valley, tumbling over boulders and shooting from old channels, once used to power the waterwheels.
This mixed woodland is managed by Forestry England and its close proximity to the city of Truro makes it popular with dog-walkers. However Idless is large enough to still be a wonderful, peaceful escape whatever the time of year and, surprisingly, hidden amongst the trees you can also find the remains of an Iron Age fort. There is a little café here, served warm drinks and snacks.
This fascinating stretch of woods was once filled with the noise, dust and chaos of the China Clay industry but now the Barn River charges down through a picturesque valley which nature has completely reclaimed. Like Kennall Valley above, the remains of the old buildings only add interest to your visit as you explore the vestiges of this period of Cornish history. If you’d like to find out more Discover Tregargus Valley.