If you’re into walking (or just like a stroll with your dog), if you’re a coffee connoisseur (or just like a hot cuppa), if you’re mad on ice cream (or just fancy a Cornish cone), if you’re a cake aficionado (or just like a squidgy brownie) Cardinham Woods Café has got it covered.
Cardinham Woods is just the most perfect little secluded sanctuary. I jumped out of my car on the lane down to the car park for a photo opp and what hit me first was the smell, a beautiful woody pine smell. When those hideous car air fresheners claim to smell like a pine forest, this is what they should smell like!
Cardinham Woods is a mixed woodland run by The Forestry Commission, it offers some beautiful marked trails to follow for walkers, with your pooch, on a bicycle or even on horseback which makes for a fab (and cheap) day out. There is a great big car park so you don’t have to worry about starting your trip with a fight for the last space.
Under the canopy of the calming woodland lies a quaint centuries-old woodsman’s cottage – Woods Café. It is run by David and Lara Spurrell, a lovely young couple who had a dream to run a café of their own but never imagined the dream would bring them to such spectacular surroundings. “We had been looking for our own business for some time and had had a number of setbacks and were beginning to lose hope until we stumbled upon this opportunity. We knew it was right and were desperate to make it ours and we’re so pleased that it worked out. We live upstairs, so it is a wonderful home to us as well as being our business.” Said David.
The little cottage has been crafted into a cosy haven with comfy sofas and a log fire, ideal when the weather is gloomy but transforms itself into a bright little space on sunnier days and there’s loads of outdoor seating. “Lara is an amazing cook, I always knew she could do it” David told me and she certainly has. While David has his business hat on & works part time as a paramedic, Lara runs the tearoom, creating the most sumptuous cakes, lovingly prepared lunches and teatime treats. “Everything is homemade, that’s really important to us. We like to use good quality local suppliers too. Our coffee comes from a micro-roaster in Wadebridge called Hands On Coffee and we use Williams of Wadebridge for our meat and dairy products – they make the most beautiful clotted cream I’ve ever tasted” said Lara. The sausages too come from “the chap up the road” (Stokeley Farm) who rears his own pigs.
Apart from the wonderful cakes, Lara cooks up a storm each day offering some lovely simple lunches and they have just won the honour of being named as one of the ‘Top 5 Cream Teas Places in Cornwall’ by the Cornish Guardian for their savoury cream tea – 2 Cheese scones with chutney, cream cheese, cheddar and a pot of tea or cup of coffee.
Woods Cafe also has its own funky little ice cream hut, adorned with stripy wall paper it’s not your average garden shed! They serve a selection of 7 ice creams and sorbets from the classic ‘Clotted Cream Vanilla’ to something more unusual such as ‘Toasted Coconut Ice Cream’ or ‘Gin & Lemon Sorbet’. They will adorn your cone with a flake if you like. Cardinham Woods is a marvellous spot to enjoy a cone, sat on a bench or out for a wander.
Lara’s favourite ice cream flavour is Toasted Coconut while David would go for a Honeycomb every time and who would they share a chat with over their favourite cone? Lara chose Sophie Dahl because she loved her cooking show and thinks she would have loads of lovely childhood stories to tell with such an amazing grandfather and David would choose Mo Farrah because he made him cry watching the Olympics – as good a reason as any!
Woods Café is a real treat, a fabulous spot for an ice cream in the Summer and a cosy refuge for hot chocolate and a bowl of soup in the winter. Oooh and I haven’t even mentioned their yurt! Something a bit different for weddings, christenings and parties. They have been hosting some great theatrical productions from there too, keep up to date on their Facebook page or through Twitter …