Cornwall’s Clay Trails – walk, ramble, run, cycle, ride

Whether you cycle, walk or horse ride these tranquil, mostly traffic free trails are between 3 – 5 miles long and are perfect to explore Cornwall’s clay country, on the Bugle, Wheal Martyn and Par Beach Clay Trails.

The Wheal Martyn and Bugle Trails both lead to the Eden project.

During the hot, hot summer of 1976 my parents decided to get the hell out of the rat race of London and give us kids a life of being free as birds in Cornwall.   At that time china clay had a big work force for its mining and ships coming and going out of Par, Fowey and Charlestown.

The story of china clay began with the industrial revolution in which Cornwall was to play a significant role.  One hundred and twenty million tons of china clay have been produced since William Cookworthy’s first discovery of clay at Tregonning Hill in 1746.  It has been used in the making of paper, ceramics, paint, rubber, pharmaceuticals, crayons, pencils, toothpaste and cosmetics.  As the years have past like so many of our industries in this country, decline began with the cost of mining.

The clay trails have emerged through the desire for wild nature reserves and give us a completely unique scenery and environment.  The flora, fauna, colours, textures and sights are astonishingly different to other Cornish experiences.  Many of the trails have the most amazing wide views where you can see for miles and miles.

Driving along the lanes to Lower Barns and looking out across the vast landscapes you can see the skyline of peaks given to us by the china clay industry.

Exploring the clay trails is easy from Lower Barns, with lots of free parking next to the trails.  There is a large car park at the Wheal Martyn Museum, which is a must for all the local history, coffee and cake and then straight onto the trail in whichever direction you choose.

If you fancy going on horse back Boskell Riding Centre, 01726 73049 is very close to the Wheal Martyn Museum.

Definitely take a pasty picnic and you will find shelters along the way for you to stop and enjoy the view.

Arrive back at Lower Barns to rest your tired feet in the hot tub before a scrumptious candle lit dinner in front of the fire in The Shack.

What a great day out!

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