A fun fact before we begin our 18 mile trip from Padstow to Wenfordbridge: despite persistent rumours of dromedaries roaming this winding path, the Camel Trail has nothing to do with the humped beast.
It actually takes its name from the Cornish word for crooked – kimmel – which this walk very much resembles. If you’re looking for more accurate historical details read, On the Camel Trail – Part 1. but stick around here for the practical business of planning your journey along the Camel Trail.
Divided into three distinct sections, the trail is accessible whether you are on foot, bicycle, or even in a wheelchair. There are two bike hire companies based in Padstow and more in Wadebridge, Wendfordbridge and Bodmin. You can even book a horse riding tour from Bodmin should you wish to mix up your mode of transport.
Padstow to Wadebridge
The first section takes you along the Camel Estuary from Padstow, crossing the river via the Iron Bridge. Make sure to take regular stops along the riverside as it’s an excellent place to spot birds including Little Egrets, Mute Swans, Osprey and Peregrine Falcons. Serious twitchers can even make use of the hide outside Wadebridge.
If you want to break for refreshments, there are four picnic areas on this stage (although you can stop for a bite wherever you like). For some seriously good food and drink we recommend ACE (named after the Atlantic Coastal Express), a converted vintage train carriage serving cakes, crepes, coffee and ice cream.
Wadebridge to Bodmin (Boscarne)
Continue through Wadebridge, one of the few parts of the trail that you’ll have to share with motorised vehicles, and the next 5.75 mile section passes through the glorious woodlands of the Camel Valley to Bodmin.
The going gets a little quieter from here – a good thing, particularly if you’re on the lookout for wildlife. Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, work has been taking place to protect these ancient woodlands and encourage river species including salmon, trout and otters.
Polbrock Bridge offers a delightfully picturesque picnic spot and is accessible by road with a car park should you want to start the trail around the halfway mark. More potent refreshments can be found at the Camel Valley Vineyard, where you can take a tour or simply enjoy some fine Cornish wine on the terrace.
Bodmin to Wenfordbridge
The last and longest section is six and a quarter miles and takes you from Bodmin to the westerly point of Bodmin Moor. This is a slightly more challenging section but it’s worth the extra effort as you pass through Pencarrow and Shell Woods home to some of Cornwall’s most characterful oak, ash, beech and spindle trees.
The trail reaches its official end in the hamlet of Wefordbridge, but if you want to conclude somewhere a little more impressive, take the road east and visit the gorgeous moorland village of Blisland.
You’ll find an award winning Inn here serving hearty meals and great beer. And if you want more walking, this is a great place to begin an exploration of Bodmin Moor, but we’ll save that for another day. Or check out 24 hours on Bodmin Moor – things to see, do, eat and enjoy