Camel Trail: crisp calm mornings

You know it’s cold when the tyres on your bike crackle as they cross the surface. I was however multi layered so on a uniquely calm morning I made my way down in the pitch black to Padstow.

My timing was perfect as Ben opens the Crib Box a little earlier on Saturdays so I arrived just as he opened with the first hint of Dawn across the Horizon.

Having been suitably warmed up with breakfast and entertained by a couple of regulars – no names – they know who they are – Russell Brands got nothing on one of them, I left the Cafe to be greeted by the first rays of sunshine on a cold, crisp calm morning.

The journey back took an age because it was perfect light for photos and also on crossing the Iron Bridge up ahead a Dog Fox was sauntering along the Trail so I tracked him for a while.

I have to say that the Council has done a first-rate job of cutting back – not just a trim but a full Monty short, back and sides – excellent job at just the right time of the year – the storm this week having either washed off or blown off any debris and in fairness not a lot of bikers around.

Given the Storms throughout the week there has been lots of activity in the Hire Shop what with the refurb nearly finished – our sponsorship of a young man who has Cerebral Palsy culminating with BBH presenting him with his racing wheelchair on Friday and also Fleet installing an emergency defibrillator at the shop – so exciting times.

If this weather carries on do wrap up warm and join us on a very picturesque Trail and remember a complimentary hot drink now awaits you on your return.

Ketch 'Agnes' in 1955 across from our Hire Shop.

Ketch ‘Agnes’ in 1955 across from our Hire Shop.

THE OLD PHOTO  is of the Quayside the other side of the Hire Shop.

Safe Cycling we look forward to seeing you over the holiday – I’ve got some mince pies somewhere.


Santa at the roundabout

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Camel Trail to the Padstow Christmas Festival

I guess the Trail is all about the Padstow Christmas Festival this week the profile of which is growing by the year. Given the fact that the tented area covers a great deal of normal Padstow Parking I have spent a fair bit of time suggesting to the visiting Public that parking in Wadebridge and then cycling to the Festival along the Camel Trail is a super option.

With the trees now stripped of their leaves by the recent high winds views of the Estuary and landscape obscured in the Summer are now a real bonus. I will however warn you that you might hear a barrage of noise from 12 bore shotguns on occasions as there are several locations on the other side of the river that lend themselves to this sport. The Trail is also undergoing a serious trim, the lads having done a real good job of cutting back and then cleaning all the debris from the Trail.

I am off up to Dartmoor for a few days but back on the Trail next week.

If you get any time at all, wrap up warm and venture out on a bike you will not be disappointed the Trail offers up all sorts of views not seen in Summer and if you are a bird watcher this is the time to go.

the rumour was correct our hot drinks machine is now in place - we are testing it.

The rumour was correct our hot drinks machine is now in place – we are testing it.

Safe cycling,


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Camel Trail: hot drinks machine coming?

Two contrasting rides this week with the common factor of both being Frosty mornings the first of the year and at -4 degrees a bit of a shock to the system.

One of my passions is fishing so with a little help from a young friend who is an ace Salmon Fisherman (it does help I suppose if you work for Environmental and are riverside most days) we covered the river from Polbrock down to Gravel Pit Pool Trailside. Not unsurprisingly we did not even see a fish and to be honest I spent a fair bit of the time taking pictures with the Sun streaming down onto a very Frosty landscape, a very special morning. Camel in autumn 2

I left young Robbie fairly early to get back to the Hireshop so that I could ride back up a very dry, crunchy Trail to Polbrock Bridge and take yet more photos. As is the norm I did not have my camera to hand when a Kingfisher shot past me. They really are a spectacular bird and you may recall they have the wonderful Habit about this time of the year of languishing in my garden and thinning out the Goldfish population in my Pond – happy days.


My ride today was earlier but not early enough as I like to witness daybreak down at Padstow but I forgot that in clearer cold mornings the whole sequence of Sunrise comes forward by as much as half hour, so what is normally a fairly languid ride was a rather breathless race down to beat the daylight. You appreciate time is marching on in age terms when even a bike ride develops a routine in this case coffee and a glance at the paper followed by the inevitable visit to Bens.

I did try and deviate somewhat by climbing up behind The Ship Inn to get some elevated photos of Padstow at Dawn, however we lost the light with cloud cover so the photos were grainy, will have to invest in a proper Wi-Fi camera – must remember to add to Xmas list, yes right!

As you can see this is a great time of the year to explore the Camel Trail and there is a rumour that we might even have that complimentary hot drinks machine fitted in the next week but don’t hold your breath, it will be done dreckly.


The Foundry down Polmorla Road here in Wadebridge cast all the Keels for the British Americas Cup boats prior to them now using Catamarans.

The Iron Foundry, still operating in Wadebridge.

The Foundry, still operating in Wadebridge.

Safe cycling.


Visit the Bridge Bike Hire webcam, which looks down the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow:



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Camel Trail: First Frost of the Year

Early Morning Polbrock, Sun coming up, mist lifting – 4 degrees first frost of the year Nov 24th amazing.


Having just planted out Daffodil bulbs on our adopted Traffic Roundabout, just across from our Hire Shop, now got to shift 4 tons of chips donated by another member of the Public.

Our roundabout

Our roundabout

Visit the Bridge Bike Hire webcam, which looks down the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow:


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Breezy, dry then heavens open!

Had a nice early start, bit breezy, but dry for all of ten minutes and then the heavens opened.

I carry waterproof trousers but I don’t like them so it takes a cloud burst before I struggle into them, this was just such an occasion.

It was still pitch black by the time I rode out of the last cutting and Padstow reverberated to the sound of Sand Trucks and loaders. These double sized Trucks are huge and am I the only one who admires the way they are reversed onto a very confined Quayside, you have got to get that right first time.

Had time for my obligatory coffee Harbourside and with daylight grudgingly arriving and the rain easing made my way to Bens (Crib Box). Met up with a couple of Fishermen over a bacon butty and asked them what they were landing – it appears the Lobster season is over so Crab is the catch of the day.

Slowly made my way back home against a howling wind, took good care not to get blown off my bike as I crossed the Iron Bridge with now a watery Sun showing itself.

On my return to the Hire Shop having been “blow dried” all the way I suddenly realised that all the “Camel Trail closure” notices were still in place and no one had let us know whether the works at Outlands had been completed to schedule.

I have to say with more storm clouds gathering my enthusiasm for another drenching had somewhat waned so I cheated, loaded my bike into the truck and drove up and parked at Helland Bridge. It was then a quick ride down to the works along a trail which showed the signs of multiple truck and Dumper movement  – it is quite badly churned in places so if you venture up this way take care and definitely wear old gear – by inference then the works have been completed and a new double Culvert installed, all very neat and tidy.

Rode back to the Truck in the inevitable driving rain, the things I do for reports.

Finally the very first of my “did you know with a photo” slots. I have been spending some time up at the Wadebridge Museum with Peter Tutthill who is helping me compile some material for this item. This is a lovely facility manned by very knowledgeable volunteers, highly recommended.

Woolcocks stables on the Platt now the site of the Postal sorting office.

Woolcocks stables on the Platt now the site of the Postal sorting office.

The picture is of Woolcocks stables on the Platt now the site of the Postal sorting office.

Safe cycling if you are venturing out on your bike this week.


Visit the Bridge Bike Hire webcam, which looks down the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow:


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Works on upper reaches of the Camel Trail

Following the Rangers notice that part of the upper reaches of the Camel Trail were to be closed for repairs this report is mainly about that section.

It occurred to me that not everyone would be familiar with Outlands Wood so I hope this very rough sketch will give you an idea of location.

Having got permission from the Camel Trail Ranger to access the works area, I drove up to Hellandbridge under a very dark and threatening sky. It would appear that heavy showers are the order of the day for the rest of the week, but thankfully it is still unseasonably warm.

Anyways I pulled my bike from the back of the Van, jumped on, and made my way down a very wet Trail, the only company I had were endless Pheasants strutting around and numerous nut collecting Squirrels

It was just ten minutes or so ride alongside a very angry sounding River Camel before coming to a fenced off area and a bank that had subsided and undermined the Trail. This is a gorgeous section of the Camel Trail and I spent quite a lot of time taking photos that even under a very grey sky showed an Autumn day at its colourful best. With the first spots of rain falling I beat a hasty retreat back up to the Van, however you must not go to Hellandbridge and not go and see that classic ancient bridge with the added bonus that if you like Pottery, the very fine Paul Jackson’s studio fronts the river at this point.

Mission accomplished I headed back to the Hireshop where our two mechanics had just finished building some bikes with stabilizers. I often talk of the improved surface conditions in between Wadebridge and Padstow so we thought it would be a good idea that if anyone is teaching their little one to ride that as the surface is so much better we would now have both these and balance bikes. And as an added bonus these will be FREE when hiring two adult bikes so we hope to see you soon.

This report is a little long for a “did you know spot” and I have decided to do a did you know with a photo by way a of a change. Take care.

Safe Cycling,


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Spectacular Camel Trail

Quite a change in temperature to the degree that I am both riding and working in trousers rather than shorts for the first time since Easter.  It’s all down to dodging heavy showers and enjoying what are still warm sunny spells, the bonus of course this weather pattern brings is spectacular early morning sky formations and a corridor of colour along the Trail.

As well as dodging showers the surface is wet so wearing old gear is recommended especially for the little ones who seem to specialize in puddle jumping. Downstream you may notice that the Mussel Beds have been extended considerably down by the Quarry and if you glance across to Porthilly those black floats are in evidence there too. That is a great indicator as to how good the River Camel water quality is nowadays.

Other news from the Trail is the controversial decision by the Council to close the new block of Toilets for the Winter (I have said enough about this already) and it looks like works begin on repairs to the Upper reaches of the Trail next Monday 10th Nov. I will try and find out exactly where and what works are programmed later in this report. MORE TO COME LATER TODAY – cheers … Later Managed to head upstream with the idea of taking some photos of Dunmere Falls. At this time of the year you can hear them before you see them and I was not disappointed, the falls were truly spectacular in the Autumn sunshine, so I had difficulty in choosing which out of many photos I should post.

With the tea gardens and Snails Pace Cafe now open spasmodically the bonus up this end of the Trail is the Borough Arms Pub, which has a ramp access from the Trail up to the premises. Mine Host is always very welcoming and with roaring fire, something to warm your insides and an option of some good Pub food, what could be better. Writing of a warm option we will shortly be installing a complimentary hot drinks bar for our customers on their return from a Winter ride. Winter visits to our Hire Shop are becoming increasingly popular and take advantage of the free parking and with two bikes hired children under 5yrs go free. Last minute update – James ( our Camel Trail Ranger ) has just informed us that from Monday 10th of November for about a week the section from Dunmere to Hellandbridge will be closed for works on a section of subsidence at Outlands. The Borough Arms will be unaffected. And finally DID YOU KNOW:- The Camel River has no connection to the animal with that name. It is derived from CAM which means crooked and HEYLE which means mouth or estuary of a river. We hope to see you dreckly on what is at present a spectacular Camel Trail. Safe cycling, Nigel

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