The Cornwall is perched near the top of a wonderful cycle route, The Pentewan Cycle Trail. Leading you through woodland towards the coast, riding the trail is a lovely way to spend the day – and if you don’t want the hassle of bringing bikes on holiday with you, that’s not a problem.
Pentewan Valley Cycle Hire could hardly be handier. Based in the nearby harbour village of Pentewan, this friendly local company can lend you a bike from as little as £14 per day. There is a free customer car park if you want to leave your motor behind for the day and cycle off straight away. Alternatively, they can arrange delivery and collection for a small fee, and can even drop your bicycles off at the hotel. If you have very young passengers, child seats can also be hired.
The first place to explore is The Pentewan Cycle Trail itself. This charming wooded valley runs from the hotel down to the coast. The King’s Wood section is especially pleasant; and as it’s a mixed woodland, you can look forward to a beautiful landscape all year round. You don’t need to be Sir Bradley to cycle on this route – as part of an old railway line it’s not a difficult or taxing ride.
For those interested in Cornwall’s industrial past, the trail route has a fascinating history. Pentewan harbour was used for shipping china clay from the quarries at St Austell. The china clay, along with tin from Polgooth, was hauled down to the sea by horse-drawn tram. In the opposite direction, coal was shipped in and taken to the mines. A narrow gauge railway replaced the tram in 1874 that ran until the First World War when it was requisitioned. Pentewan ceased operating as a harbour in 1940, when it finally lost its on-going battle with silt.
The picturesque stretch of old track from London Apprentice down to Pentewan is now The Pentewan Cycle Trail. When you reach the coast, you can carry on, traffic-free, to Mevagissey – the perfect place to stop for a reviving lunch. Suitably refreshed, you can choose to carry on to Portmellon, where you’ll find a small sandy cove and rock pools.
Or, it’s a short cycle ride inland to The Lost Gardens of Heligan from Pentewan. There is a steeper section here (up an old carriage drive). It’s a lovely way to arrive, by bike; and you can enjoy a wonderful day exploring the gardens (and partaking in more refreshments) before freewheeling back down the hill.
We usually associate the Cornish landscape with its rugged coastline – however these cycle paths really give you chance to get to know its gentler, greener side. By bike, you can see, hear and smell the wonderful flora of Cornwall in a way no other means of transport allows you. The routes around Pentewan are just the start; the county has many other dedicated cycle paths, and Sustrans has some great information about routes.
When you finally sit down in the evening in our Parkland Terrace, admiring the view with a glass of something cold, you’ll have that wonderful sense of satisfaction that comes only with exercise and the joy of discovering new places under your own pedal-power.