Our Copper Trail walking holiday follows the route described in the guide written by Mark Camp. It is a 60 mile circuit around Bodmin Moor. The name "Copper Trail" comes about because of the numerous abandoned mine working that the route passes. Don't be deceived though, this beautiful trail offers a variety of stunning Cornish countryside that is had to beat. Your walking holiday will take you from colouful, tall hedgerows to barren, windswept moorland. Pretty hamlets and undulating farmland are also thrown into the mix. The route in the guide book starts from Minions but, as it is a circuit, it is possible to start anywhere along the route. We recommend starting at Bodmin, as it is well served by public transport.
Bodmin is about 1.5km off the route of the Copper Trail, but is an ideal starting point. It used to be the county town of Cornwall and it is still a busy shopping centre. Tourist attractions include the County Gaol, the Infantry Museum and the Bodmin and Wenford Railway. On leaving Bodmin, you have two options. The first follows the route in the guide, leaving the town to the north via narrow country lanes and tracks, to reach the Camel Trail, just south of Crabb's Pool. The second option walks out of Bodmin, past the gaol, to join the Camel Trail on the western edge of the town at Dunmere. Once on the Camel Trail, the route continues north largely through woodlands, along the bank of the River Camel. The route leaves the Camel Trail west of Blisland, at Tresarrett to climb over fields to take you to the village.
At the heart of the Blisland is a picture-postcard village green, which is rare to find in a Cornish village. Its best known landmark is the parish church, dedicated to St Protus and St Hyacinth, it is of Norman and medieval origin and contains a superbly decorated Rood Screen - indeed Sir John Betjeman was said to have found the church dazzling and amazing. On leaving Blisland, the route heads north on country lanes and over fields, skirting the edge of a granite quarry, before reaching St Breward. This is actually a group of small communities and the route continues through the village and then heads across fields and through hamlets. Roughtor and Brown Willy (the highest point in Cornwall), two granite outcrops on Bodmin Moor, soon come into view, along with the manmade hill of a china clay works. The route crosses over the open moorland of Harpur's Downs and fields before re-joining the River Camel, just south of Camelford.
Camelford owes its existence to the fact that it was an important crossing place of the River Camel on the old road which ran east to Exeter and beyond. It is also considered locally to be the capital of North Cornwall, with a range of amenities. The route leaves Camelford in the direction of Roughtor but turns away before the lower slopes to pass to the left of Crowdy Reservoir and then through Davidstow Woods to emerge on the old airfield and far-reaching views. It is hard to imagine that this remote location was the venue in 1954 for a formula one motor race, where Lotus gained their first ever formula one victory! The route follows the edge of the airfield before crossing the edge of Davidstow Moor. The route snakes below Bray Down to cross a pretty ford at Wheal Bray and continues over open farmland to reach Trewint and Five Lanes.
Fivelanes is so called because five lanes converge by the King's Head public house here. The pub was constructed in 1623 and still offers refreshment today. It is worth taking a detour here to the village of Altarnun; it is less than 1km off the route and is considered to be one of the prettiest in Cornwall. From Fivelanes, the route heads south, through a lush, rural landscape to the old mine workings of Treburlandand Wheal Annie. The landscape changes to that of a coniferous plantation before returning briefly to the moor, where you will be rewarded with views of Dartmoor and Tolcarne Tor. The route continues along the edge of fields and hamlets before reaching the larger village of North Hill.
Refreshments are available at the Racehorse Inn in North Hill which is just off the route. The Copper Trail leave North Hill and crosses the River Lynher before turning south to Berriowbridge, a pretty hamlet. Here, the route climbs and your effort is rewarded with great views of Sharp Tor towering above you, although it is only 378m high Nearing Minions, there are increasing evidence of the areas' mining heritage. You will also be able to see the famous Cheesewring rock formation high on the hillside. On the outskirt of Minions, are the impressive remains of the Prince of Wales mine and on a good day the tors of Dartmoor are visible on the eastern horizon.
This small village, on the eastern edge of Bodmin Moor, is by no means one of Cornwall's prettiest. It is though an ideal location for exploring the stone circle, oddly named the Hurlers, and the Cheesewring. The latter look like giant slabs of stone pancakes and offers unspoilt, scenic views across Bodmin Moor. The route from Minions follows that of the original Liskeard and Caradon Railway and climbs the Gonamena incline before descending into a deep cutting. Leaving the cutting, you will find the remains of one of the richest mining areas in East Cornwall. The route takes you through a barren but oddly, attractive, landscape of quarry spoils. As you climb , you will see more runied engine houses on the other side the valley and views out over East Cornwall to the sea. From here, the route takes you over undulating farming country, with views of moorland on one side and fields on the other. The route soon reaches Trethevy Quoit - a manmade tomb of giant slabs. Further ahead is the village of St Cleer, offering refreshment. A short distance from the church is the holy well, it was once believed that its water cured madness. The route skirts the village to the north. Crossing over more fields and along country lanes, the lane passes the entrance to the popular Golitha Falls. It is well worth a detour to explore both visit the falls and the surrounding woodlands, where in May the floor of the woods is a carpet of blue. Passing through more undulating woodlands and country lanes, the route follows at one stage that of the Two Valleys Walk through Periock Woods. As the white waste tips of a china clay works come to sight, the route leaves the Two Valleys Walk, passing below Berry Castle, an iron age hillfort, though very little of it is evident. The route soon descends to arrive on the northern edge of St Neot.
St Neot offers both refreshment and accommodation for the walker and was voted the "Village of the Decade" in 2006. Leaving St Neot, the route follows a minor road passing Tremaddock Farm and then turning left at the junction to follow the road to the southern edge of Colliford Lake. The route follows the road left passing the dam on the right to Lower Searle's Down. first right and then left, the route descends into a valley below Carburrow Tor to follow the road to Warleggan, before following a track right to pass through the woods to re-join the lane to reach Mount.
From Mount the route follows the road right to Little Downs. About halfway along look out for the to inscribed stones on the right hand bank. They have latin inscriptions and are thought to date from the 10th century. At Little Downs, the route follows the road to the right to pass the remains of Cardinham Castle and then follows a track to the right to join a minor road to reach Milltown. The route now follows a track into Cardinham Woods following the stream on the right to Ladyvale Bridge, before turning right to emerge from the woods and then turn left to Callybarrett Cottage to join a lane to reach the slip road of the A30. After crossing the A30, turn left along Old Callywith Road to reach Bodmin and the end of the journey.
The nearest railway station to Bodmin is Bodmin Parkway, which is approximately 3 miles away. There is a good bus service between the train station and Bodmin or, if you have time, your can enjoy a ride on the heritage steam railway.
The National Rail Map provides a map of the rail network for you to plan your journey.
The nearest National Express long distance coach stop is Bodmin.
National Express has a route network with over 1,000 UK destinations. The best value tickets will be secured with advance booking.
Bus companies offering transport from Bodmin are Western Greyhound and First Bus. In addition, Summercourt Travel offers a Bodmin Town bus service.
Bodmin is easily accessible by car, being just off the A30 dual carriageway.
We may be able to arrange car parking at your accommodation in Bodmin for the duration of your walking holiday. This will be subject to availability and may incur a small extra charge.
The route is not waymarked and uses a mix of paths, tracks and minor roads. Competent navigation skills with a map and compass are recommended.
It is possible to walk the Copper Trail all year round, but accommodation options may be limited between November and February.
We specialise in providing walking holidays in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire and Somerset. We are enthusiastic about outdoor pursuits and have experienced climbing, canoeing, skiing, caving and potholing and windsurfing as well as walking throughout the UK, France, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
We use our experience to provide self-guided, pack-free walking holidays, tailored to the requirements and abilities of our clients.