Can you recommend a scenic cycle route in Cornwall for beginners?

Cycling is a great way to explore the beautiful landscapes of Cornwall. The county's diverse geography, from its rugged coastline to its idyllic countryside, makes it a haven for cyclists of all abilities. For beginners, Cornwall's trail networks offer a variety of routes suitable for all ages, interests, and skill levels. In this guide, we will highlight some of the best and most scenic cycle routes in Cornwall that you can enjoy as a novice rider.

The Camel Trail

The Camel Trail is easily one of the best places to start your cycling adventure in Cornwall. This 18-mile long cycle route stretches from Bodmin to Padstow and is entirely traffic-free. The trail follows a disused railway line, offering flat and well-maintained surfaces ideal for beginners and family rides.

The Camel Trail takes you along the picturesque Camel Estuary and through the wooded countryside. It also offers stunning views of the Cornish landscape. Moreover, the route passes through several charming Cornish villages, providing plenty of opportunities for refreshment stops or a leisurely lunch.

Bike hire is readily available at various points along the Camel Trail, making it easy for anyone to enjoy this fantastic route. Whether you're looking for mountain bikes or comfortable hybrids, the hire services cater to all needs.

The Cornish Way

The Cornish Way is another great route for beginners. This stretch of National Cycle Network Route 3 runs from Land's End to Bude, covering approximately 180 miles. However, don't let the total distance intimidate you. The route is divided into several sections, some of which are perfect for novice riders.

One of the most scenic and beginner-friendly sections of the Cornish Way is the stretch from Hayle to Truro. This 25-mile route meanders along the south coast of Cornwall, boasting beautiful views of the sea and countryside.

The Cornish Way is largely traffic-free, with a mix of on and off-road paths. The route also takes you through some of Cornwall's most iconic towns and attractions, such as St. Ives and Penzance. As with the Camel Trail, bike hire services are available along the route.

The Mineral Tramways

The Mineral Tramways network comprises several cycling trails that traverse the historic mining heartland of Cornwall. These trails are largely flat and traffic-free, making them suitable for beginners and families.

The most popular trail in the network is the Coast to Coast trail. Starting from the coastal town of Portreath, this 11-mile route takes you inland to Devoran on the south coast. This trail offers a unique combination of natural beauty and industrial heritage. Along the way, you'll pass old engine houses, tramway tracks, and wildlife-filled habitats.

The Great Flat Lode trail is another excellent option within the Mineral Tramways network. This circular route runs for 7.5 miles around Carn Brea hill, offering stunning panoramic views of the Cornish countryside.

The Lanhydrock Bike Trails

Located on the National Trust's Lanhydrock estate near Bodmin, the Lanhydrock Bike Trails are a fantastic option for beginner cyclists. The estate features a variety of trails, from easy routes suitable for children to more challenging trails for confident riders.

The Lanhydrock trails are purpose-built for cycling, offering smooth and well-maintained paths. The trails are also traffic-free, allowing you to enjoy the stunning woodland scenery in peace and safety. The estate offers bike hire facilities, including bikes for children and adaptive bikes for riders with disabilities.

The St. Austell Clay Trails

For beginners looking for shorter rides, the St. Austell Clay Trails are an excellent choice. These trails cover about 45 kilometers in total, crisscrossing the unique landscape of Cornwall's china clay country.

The Clay Trails offer several circular routes that range from 2 to 5 miles, ideal for novice cyclists or families with young children. These trails are mostly flat and traffic-free. Along the route, you'll enjoy a mix of open sky, woodland, and heritage sites linked to the clay industry.

In conclusion, Cornwall offers a wealth of scenic cycle routes suitable for beginners. Whether you're looking for a leisurely ride along the coast, a historic journey through Cornwall's mining heritage, or a peaceful cycle in the countryside, Cornwall has the perfect trail for you. Enjoy the ride!

Goss Moor National Nature Reserve

The Goss Moor National Nature Reserve offers a fantastic cycle route for beginners. This seven-mile circular route is mostly flat, making it an excellent choice for novice riders or families. The trail is traffic-free, providing a safe and peaceful environment for cyclists.

Goss Moor is home to a wide range of wildlife, including numerous bird species, butterflies, and rare plants. So, while you enjoy your ride, you also get a chance to witness the rich biodiversity of this natural reserve. The trail also offers views of the historic china clay pits and the railway viaduct, blending natural beauty with industrial heritage.

Cycle hire services are not available at Goss Moor. Therefore, you need to bring your own bikes or rent one from nearby towns. However, its close proximity to St. Austell and Newquay makes Goss Moor easily accessible.

The Eden Project

No visit to Cornwall would be complete without a trip to the Eden Project. This world-renowned attraction also offers some great cycling routes for beginners. The Clay Trails, which we mentioned earlier, pass by the Eden Project, making it ideal to combine a ride with a visit to this iconic site.

The Eden Project itself is a fascinating venue. It houses the world's largest indoor rainforest and other unique plant species from different ecosystems. There's also an education center that offers interactive exhibits about biodiversity and climate change. So, after a day on the saddle, you can unwind by exploring the wonders of the natural world.

Cycle hire is not available at the Eden Project. Therefore, it's recommended to rent a bike from St. Austell or use the Clay Trails' bike hire services.


In conclusion, cycling in Cornwall is an experience like no other. The county boasts a wide variety of scenic cycle routes that cater to all abilities, especially beginners. From the tranquillity of the Camel Trail and the beauty of the Cornish Way to the rich industrial heritage of the Mineral Tramways and the unique landscapes of Goss Moor and the Eden Project, there's something for everyone.

All of these routes are traffic-free and offer bike hire services nearby, allowing you to enjoy your ride without any worries. Whether you prefer coastal paths, countryside lanes, or forest trails, Cornwall has you covered. So, grab your helmet, hop on a bike, and start exploring the stunning landscapes of Cornwall. Happy cycling!

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