The Camel Trail

The last trail ride of our early autumn holiday was the Camel Trail which runs alongside the river Camel in Cornwall, from Padstow on the coast, to Wenfordbridge. The full route is about 18 miles, however the final miles, from Wadebridge to Padstow offer the best scenery where the sea and land merge into the sandbanks and salty creeks of the estuary.

View from Motorhome

Campsite view from Motorhome

In view of my recent backwards step after my accident we decided that we would just do this final short section of about 5 miles, which of course we would once again double up on with a there and back trip. So we drove up to a spacious campsite called Timaru, near Wadebridge. We had the place to ourselves and the views were wonderful. Although the campsite had no facilities we weren’t bothered as we were only planning on staying one night and we were able to be self-sufficient in the motorhome.

We got directions for the shortest route to pick up the trail from the campsite owner. This was a lovely ride along some leafy lanes of maybe a couple of miles, much of it steeply downhill; this was a slight concern as it meant the return would be uphill! We joined the trail a few miles downstream from Wadebridge and headed towards Padstow. The trail was an easy ride of mostly well compacted gravel with some slightly looser areas and some tarmac. Being an old railway line running along the valley it was pretty well flat. The day was warm in the sun but it was a bit windy, which made it rather cool in the areas the sun couldn’t reach.

The estuary was indeed very scenic and I did get some lovely GoPro footage but unfortunately still haven’t found the time to get to grips with editing this into anything I can share here. I must also apologise too for the fact that I didn’t take any stills on either my camera or my phone – hubby did but, typically, he has not yet downloaded them so I can’t share those either. On the final stretch into Padstow the trail crossed over a magnificent old railway bridge and once in Padstow there are fishing boats to be seen bobbing about in what is still a working port.

As usual, once we had reached Padstow there was nothing for it but to retrace our steps. However we chose not to leave the trail where we had picked it up and carried on to Wadebridge for the full extent of our planned ride. The trail here ends at a roadside café and bike hire shop and if you wish to continue on to Wenfordbridge there is a section of on-road riding before re-joining the trail once you have passed through the market town.

We made the decision here not to return along the track to our starting point but to return directly to the campsite along the main road out of Wadebridge. What we hadn’t taken on board, but should have been obvious and soon became apparent was this was up a very steep hill! Our Mixte bikes are not among the lightest bikes in the world and, as I have mentioned before, mine does not have the gear range that my husband’s does and my lowest gear is not as low as his. This, coupled with the difficulty I had of putting much power down due to my groin injury, meant that I had to bail out and walk up the hill. I’m not sure which was the lesser of the two evils as walking was agony and I had to stop frequently for brief rests. Eventually we did make it to the top where we found a supermarket and could stock up with a few nibbles for our journey home, or should I say hubby did while I waited outside – I couldn’t face walking round the store. Riding the rest of the way back to the campsite with only a few gentle climbs was a welcome relief. In all the ride was only about 13 miles but, due to the steep hill, it seemed much more.

Timaru Totem Pole

Timaru Totem Pole

The campsite was most interesting, with plaques up by the water taps and other fixtures displaying little verses and pictures of rabbits; a child’s paradise. Near the owner’s house there was a sandpit labelled as a “Fairies Meeting Place”, which I gather was intended to attract the rabbits, which are a real problem there, and keep them from chewing up the shrubbery – apparently it works and every morning there are several rabbits having their “Fairy Meeting”. There is also a magnificent totem pole by the entrance to the camping field, made by the owner as his wife wanted one and they were far too expensive to buy. It was a lovely campsite and we were almost sorry we were only staying the one night, but we duly set off after breakfast the next morning to return home.

We were away for two weeks and guess we did a bit less than 100 miles of trail riding overall; which, having fallen off and struggled to walk from only our second day out on the trails, can’t be bad. I have to add that we have now been home for about three weeks and I am moving about much better, although I still have some pain and some days are better than others. It’s frustrating but I’m sure I will have completely recovered before too many more weeks have passed.

One result on our return home was that my husband decided to modify my bike yet again to improve my gear ratios – more about this next time.



Site content copyright of Elizabeth Leaper (Libby).

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