Cornwall is surrounded on three sides by the sea and is almost cut off from Devon by the River Tamar which runs from its source close to Bude to discharge into the sea at Plymouth. It is a land of rugged beauty with a coastline of dramatic cliffs and spectacular beaches. On the north coast the seas roar in and surfers are challenged by the waves. The south can fool you by looking more gentle but there are plenty of shipwrecks that say otherwise.
Inland much of it is shaped by man from its history of tin, copper and china clay. Nature has a habit of taking back when man departs and no more is this so than here in Cornwall as in the image below. Elsewhere there are wide open moors, rivers that rush to the sea and just occasionally some serene vistas of gentle rolling farmland
My tour last week with my friend, Jaana from Finland discovered much of this landscape on our bikes. We followed the National Cycle Network from Lamorna Wink near Penzance to Bude and on over Devon's border to Barnstaple. The main cycle routes are NCN3 and 32 but using Sustrans maps there are several recommended routes that open up the county quite well. The NCN avoids busy main roads and we met many out on their bikes including a group of tourers from Australia. Perhaps the most enthusiastic was Vincent from Utrect who we met in Bude. He was on a 1,500km journey around Normandy, Brittany, Cornwall and Devon
This is our experience including from previous trips. Cornwall can be busy during the holiday periods so some care is needed in towns and we found Truro required extra vigilance. We found the NCN to be well signed. Route difficulty rating is moderate but challenging in places and expect to encounter at least one 30% hill. There are plenty of places on route for coffee including some specialist bike cafes
There are sufficient rail connections throughout the county with GWR who I find to be quite helpful. For the NCN in Cornwall, this is the link to buy maps. My tour including in Devon was 235 miles. This is another link for cycling in Cornwall
These are Cornish food and drink that delighted my palate: fish from Newlyn, cream teas, pasties, tea, cider and beer.
AND FINALLY the ride was not without its oddities and problems