More than a walk in the woods: discover CardinhamPosted by Sophie Hesp on Updated on
Plenty to explore on foot, paws or wheels
Tucked away in a secluded area of Cornwall and lined with acre upon acre of woodland, Cardinham Woods awaits. A truly beautiful setting, Cardinham has peaceful walking trails, high-adrenaline cycle tracks and a family-run café at its heart. Whether you’ve an hour spare for a morning dog walk or want to while away the evening with a barbecue until dusk, reconnect with nature and enjoy a good old fashioned day in the forest.
Stretch your legs on the woodland trails
Cardinham Woods is famed for its walking trails, with a range of routes for everyone to enjoy. From the pretty and pushchair friendly Lady Vale Walk, to the steeper climb of Wheal Glynn – where you’ll spot an old engine house through the trees – the trails showcase some spectacular views and fascinating local wildlife. 650 acres of mixed woodland and the trickling river running throughout make Cardinham a dog’s playground, with plenty of open space for four-pawed friends to stretch their legs.
For walkers looking to enjoy a relaxed stroll through the woods, Lady Vale is a flat, easy route, following the river upstream to Lady Vale Bridge. This one and a half mile route can be enjoyed by visitors with wheelchairs and pushchairs, and the Gruffalo Spotters Trail will have children on the lookout for Fox, Owl, Snake and Mouse, with magnifying glass in hand.
With miles of woodland waiting to be explored off the beaten track as well as on it, Cardinham Woods is situated within a short distance of National Trust properties like Lanhydrock – another picturesque dog-friendly setting, perfect for early morning runs and day-long adventures alike.
Tackle the Bodmin Beast
A high adrenaline course for keen mountain bikers, the Bodmin Beast cycle trail is a thrilling way to experience the wooded slopes of the Cardinham Valley. With technical climbs and some tight bermed corners, the twelve kilometre moderate grade track loops high into the trees, towards two more difficult sections, each with steep valley views.
Natural, flowing and fast, ‘Dialled-in-Dave’ and ‘Hell’s Teeth’ are best tackled by advanced riders, and the narrow track is sure to get your blood pumping if you’re after a high-octane adventure high up on the valley slopes.
Bikes are available to hire from Trailmunki for use across the whole site at Cardinham, with a range of styles to suit avid mountain bikers, as well as those who steer towards a more leisurely ride. Trailmunki is a popular choice, so be sure to book ahead!
Eat at Woods Café
A hidden gem nestled in the heart of Cardinham Woods, this independent family-run lunch spot is celebrated amongst locals for its cosy atmosphere, friendly staff and selection of fresh local produce. An inviting dog-friendly pit stop, Woods Café is ideally situated in the middle of Cardinham’s woodland trails, making it the perfect fireside setting to perk up with a pre-walk coffee or indulge afterwards with a traditional Cornish cream tea.
Perfect for families and with plenty of outdoor seating for when the sun is shining, the café has a children’s playground just next door, where little legs can run free.
With quaint décor, bunting clad windows and twinkling fairy lights giving the café a warm and welcoming vibe, it’s easy to see why Woods Café has been named the cosiest café in the Clipper Tea Shop Awards. A selection of homemade cakes are passionately and freshly prepared each morning, while other menu favourites include hearty homemade soups, vegan and gluten free specials, delicious sandwiches and of course, the café’s infamous chocolate brownies.
Insider top tips from a local
Cardinham’s central location in Cornwall puts you in prime position to explore the ins and outs of the county during your stay. For sandy excursions, Polzeath is a family-friendly beach popular for its surf, while the coastal towns of Looe and nearby Polperro are lovely seaside spots to spend a day in the south.
Daymer Bay is a dog-friendly beach on the east side of the River Camel Estuary and is just a short car journey from Cardinham, while Porthluney Beach and the surrounding Caerhays Estate are perfectly peaceful and highly recommended for whiling away an afternoon.
With a thriving maritime scene and a beautiful estuary that’s rich in local wildlife, Fowey is one of Cornwall’s most prestigious towns – a wonderful day trip destination. For food connoisseurs, a tour and tasting at Camel Valley Vineyard is your chance to discover some exquisite award-winning Cornish wines.