Exploring Poldark country on foot and by bike

Cornish coastline showing old mine workings and the sea

From rugged moors to stormy seas and sweeping vistas, it’s not hard to see why Cornwall’s dramatic landscape inspired Winston Graham to write the best-selling Poldark series.

Cornwall’s mining heritage is evident across the county, and exploring on foot or by bike is one of the best ways to experience it. To celebrate the return of the BBC series to our screens this weekend, why not plan your own Poldark-inspired adventure?

The South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path is hugely popular with walkers. Well-maintained and signposted, it offers magnificent coastal views plus the opportunity to visit some of Cornwall’s stunning beaches. The excellent South West Coast Path website is full of useful information to help you choose a walk. You can search by area, interest, number of miles or difficulty of walk. Each walk page has information about the area you’re walking through, plus a map and details about where to park and go for refreshments, making it easy to plan a day out.

Our favourite Poldark-inspired walks on the coast include:

  • Geevor Mine & Chûn Quoit
  • St Agnes & Chapel Porth
  • Levant, Botallack and the Crowns
  • Blue Hills Tin Mine walk
Exploring Poldark country: immerse yourself in the dramatic landscape around St Agnes
Trevaunance Cove lies on the coast path just outside St Agnes

The Clay Trails

The Clay Trails are network of short walking, cycling and horse riding trails through mid-Cornwall’s China Clay Country (in and around St Austell). If you’re staying at Bosinver, all these trails are right on your doorstep.

If you’re an Android phone user, you can download the Sensory Trust’s free Clay Tales app. As you explore the landscape, you can listen to stories from local people and the poems of Jack Clemo.

You can also combine a short cycle ride or walk along one of the trails with a visit to a local attraction, such as the Eden Project, Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum and Country Park, or Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre.

The Mineral Tramways Mining Trails

The Mineral Tramways Mining Trails follow old tramways that were once used to transport ore from the mines to the coast. Based around Redruth and Camborne at the heart of Cornwall’s mining country, there are 37.5 miles (60km) of trails to explore on foot or by bike.

Most of the trails are flat and traffic-free, making them ideal for walkers and cyclists. They’re also wheelchair and buggy friendly. As you explore the trails, you’ll travel through what was once the largest tin and copper producing area in the world. The engine houses dotted around the landscape are some of the most dramatic reminders of Cornwall’s industrial past, but there’s plenty more to discover.

The Coast-to-Coast trail is popular with families who enjoy cycling
The Coast to Coast trail is ideal for families who enjoy cycling

There are seven mining trails in all, created by the Mineral Tramways Heritage Project. One of the most popular is the Coast to Coast Trail. This 11-mile trail runs from Devoran on the south coast to Portreath on the north. It’s a route popular with cyclists, particularly family groups. If you don’t have your own bikes, you can hire them from Bike Chain at Bissoe.

Another popular trail is the Great Flat Lode, a seven-mile circular trail which traverses Carn Brea hill to the south of Redruth. The trail follows part of what used to be the Basset Mine Tramway, which was constructed to transport tin ore to Wheal Basset Stamps to be processed.

Download the Mineral Tramways Mining Trails map to find out more about all the trails and plan your route.

Mining Villages Trail

You can also explore some of the mining villages located on or near the main trails. Many are home to excellent pubs – some of which have been serving local ales and hearty homemade food since Poldark’s time.

Do you have a favourite walking or cycling trail in Cornwall? We’d love to hear your recommendations – share your thoughts below, tweet @Bosinver or post on our Facebook page.

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