Cornwall

The West Kernow Way, Cornwall

Officially opened in September 2021, the West Kernow Way was developed by Cycling UK and leads cyclists across a series of bridleways, byways and tracks across West Cornwall.

Starting in Penzance, the 150-mile West Kernow Way weaves its way around the lower half of the county in a figure of eight. Compromising a mix of bridleways, byways and tracks, much of the route is traffic-free although there are still a few sections on roads open to all traffic. For the especially intrepid, the whole route can be covered in 3 to 4 days, while for the hobby bikers, sections can be completed in as much or as little time as you please. 

Carefully planned and developed in order to hit the right balance of safety, fun and adventure, as well as to provide hearty challenges en route, the West Kernow Way showcases a range of landscapes. With both old graphs and modern maps having been consulted, it traces open coastlines, navigates bucolic countryside, follows old miners’ tracks and includes several optional routes and shortcuts too. With over 4,200m of ascent in all, it’s not for the fainthearted, but well worth the reward.

Providing a brilliant way to see some of the county’s most popular sights, just some of the highlights of this new Cornish cycle route include the tin mines and engine houses of Botallack, the 3,500-year-old Bronze Age monument Mên-an-Tol, the legendary St Michael’s Mount and the country’s most southerly point, the Lizard Point. You’ll also pass picturesque fishing villages, remote countryside communities and thriving towns – all part of the West Cornwall’s rich tapestry. 

If you plan on picking up part of the West Kernow Way, make sure you pack a good pair of binoculars in your pannier. Heading along the coast, there are lots of opportunities to catch sight of whales, dolphins and seals in the water and seabirds wheeling on lofty thermals. It’s also fun to watch sailboats making their way across the horizon, tossing up waves of saltwater spray as they harness the wind to cut through the water with effortless grace.

Importantly, foodies will also be reassured at the abundance of places to eat along the cycle way too, with West Cornwall recognised all over the UK for its natural larder and world-class chefs. Providing plenty of encouragement to keep you going, you can look forward to a mouth-water array of culinary delights, from fresh seafood in Porthleven to locally-made ice cream in St Just to cream teas and piping hot pasties at almost every turn. Well, you’ll need the calories after all. 

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