South West Trails – Cardinham Woods
We've been taking a chance to explore a few mtb rides in the SW of England. Today we rode Cardinham Woods Close to Bodmin in Cornwall. It’s a forestry commission site so there’s plenty of parking and WCs with changing space.
It’s a 12km blue single track loop with two red optional red runs. The red runs involve some very steep uphill fire track and tight steep bermed switchbacks. Both the red and the blue trails have some nice flowing sections with turns, tabletops and some very small drop-offs. There are also some steep climbs and tight switchbacks on the blue section making it a short but enjoyable loop.
If you are used to riding at other trail centres across the UK you wouldn’t want to be making a special trip here purely to ride this trail. But if you live in the region or you’re in the area and want a ride it’s a good little centre that’s capable of putting a smile on your face.
Families & other activities
What was noticeable was the number of family groups where one or two members went off to tackle the trails while the others enjoyed the surroundings. It’s a great venue for this because there’s fun to be had whether you’re riding or not. There are flat (wheelchair accessible) walks, steeper walking loops, a wooden playground and warm café to relax in.
While the mtb trails aren’t as long or technically demanding as others in the UK, one thing that guaranteed that I for one will be coming back was the excellent café. Nestled close to the stream is the stone cottage of Woods Café. Inside there’s a roaring log fire, modern country-style interior, hot and cold food made with local ingredients and the all important home-made cake and tea. While we were there it was packed full of muddy riders and groups relaxing in the warmth while the riders of their parties took to the trail. The standard of food is high and it really is one of the best places I’ve finished a ride. See http://www.woodscafecornwall.co.uk/
Bike Hire & the Camel Trail
For beginners, or those who haven’t brought their bikes, there is bike hire available in nearby Bodmin mainly serving the Camel Trail. The Camel Trail runs through Bodmin and is an excellent non-technical car-free trail suitable for all abilities. It’s 18 miles (29km) along its full length, but you don’t have to do the full distance. See http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=13412 for more information and links to bike hire locations.
Cardinham Woods Trail information can be found at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-9a3kbx