Besides beach life, you can enjoy a plethora of outdoor adventures in Cornwall. Freewheel through Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty by bike, strike out along the South West Coast Path or follow the route of ancient pilgrims from coast to coast. Adrenalin-junkies can feel the saltwater licking their heels as they rock-climb up staggering sea cliffs, or harness the wind in their sails on a blo-kart. If you prefer somewhat tamer activities, why not train your binoculars on rare bird species or enjoy a round of golf on some of the country’s most scenic 18-hole courses?
With such diverse and dramatic terrain from the beaches to the moors, it’s no surprise that walking is one of the most popular outdoor adventures in Cornwall. Don walking boots and soak up the scenery from the South West Coast Path – whether you cover an easygoing mile between St Ives and Carbis Bay, or set off on a serious 40-mile hike from St Ives to Penzance. If you make it all the way to Penzance you can loop back to St Ives via the St Michael’s Trail, which is part of the extensive Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim route. Another coast-to-coast trail that many walkers tread is the 27-mile Saints Way between Padstow and Fowey, which traces the route of early Christian travellers.
If you’d like to take in the scenery at a slightly faster pace, why not cycle from coast-to-coast along an old tramway between Portreath and Devoran? There are various off-road biking routes along historic mining trails in West Cornwall, or you might prefer the more easygoing Camel Trail that follows the estuary from Padstow to Wadebridge then wends its way to Bodmin Moor. If you prefer freewheeling along country lanes, join the final stretch of Sustrans Cycle Route 3 as it crosses from Hayle to Penzance and hugs the coast all the way to Land’s End. If you haven’t brought your own bike there are plenty of places to hire a set of wheels nearby, such as West Cornwall Bike Hire.
If you want get really off the beaten track, there are few better ways to explore miles of moorland than on horseback. Saddle-up and join hacks from Penhalwyn Stables in St Ives or the Old Mill Stables in Carbis Bay. Old Mill Stables is the only place in the region that offers the unique activity of horseback archery – a skill originating from the people of the Steppe region. If you don’t fancy testing your aim with a bow and arrow, across the road from the Old Mill you’ll find the West Cornwall Golf Club, where you can tee off on one of the most stunning 18-hole golf courses in the county.
If you can’t score a birdie on the golf course, why not settle for spotting some birds instead? Hayle estuary is one of the best places in the UK to spot rare birdlife from wigeons to curlews, while on the cliff path you can spot the likes of gannets and guillemots. Take a fishing trip and you’re bound to spot oystercatchers, storm petrels and shearwaters, while catching plenty of Cornish mackerel for tea.
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