We all know Lanhydrock for its beautiful house and gardens but, until recently, I was unaware of the acres of unexplored woodland and grounds that make up this beautiful estate. That is, before they opened their Cycle Hub, allowing access to 10 kilometres of beautiful purpose-built, off- road cycle trails of which we are thrilled to be a sponsor of one. This is a fab project, free to use and a lovely way of exploring the countryside for all abilities and ages.
I do have a bike but I haven’t seen it for a good couple of years as it is buried at the back of my garage somewhere, home to a few spiders I dare say. Cycling is such a fab way of seeing the countryside though, the thing I love about it (so why don’t I get my bike out of the garage?!) is the fact that you can cover a good distance in a relatively short space of time – meaning you can actually get somewhere and see some amazing sights en route. For others, it might be the thrill of a challenging course, burning some calories or the pleasure of seeing your children master their bike without stabilisers for the first time but whatever your reason, Lanhydrock’s new trails have something for you.
Visitors now arrive through the reinstated eighteenth century carriage drive, which was very befitting of the Callestick Farm mini I thought. The car park has been expanded a great deal and the trails begin at one corner. Bicycles can be hired on site too from the brand new facility opposite the café. They have over 100 bicycles available for all ages and sizes, including balance bikes for children. Helmets are of course a must and come free with the hire of all bikes.
There are several trails depending on ability and agility. As the helpful hire man said, the skills area is the perfect place to get the hang of your bike and just get your confidence before you head out.
The other trails are colour coded:
The green trails are the easy grade trails, perfect for families and anyone seeking a leisurely and pleasurely cycle through gentle and meandering woodland pathways.
The blue trails are considered intermediate, these tracks have some steeper gradients and technical features for those looking for a bit more of a challenge.
The red grade trails are for the real thrill seekers amongst you, packed with technical features for developing skills. The trails head downhill alongside each other, allowing you and a friend to ride side-by-side and push your limits.
It was the green trail that I followed, it was a beautiful day and so peaceful under the woodland canopy. The trail was ‘one-way’ which is quite comforting for a novice because it means you don’t have to worry about negotiating somebody coming in the opposite direction. There was a real mixture of ages following the trail, I met a young couple, a fit older fellow that put me to shame and this little chap who was flying along with his Mum in hot pursuit, just managed to get a photo of him rocketing into the distance…
The ethos behind the trails is to encourage more people to spend time in the beautiful outdoor places and spaces that we are so lucky to be surrounded by in Cornwall. It was hoped this £3 million project would attract a new type of visitor to Lanhydrock and engage them in the beauty and the FUN of its natural surroundings and I believe they are achieving this with this beautiful resource. Last year 15km of cycle trails were opened at nearby Cardinham Woods by the Forestry Commission. Like the Lanhydrock development, they form part of the 1 South West Cycling Project which is all about promoting great cycling adventures in the south west countryside.
All that pedal power deserves a reward and the beautiful bright & open Park Café is the perfect antidote to aching legs. With glass frontage onto the new children’s play area, a rustic little heaven for children, it is a real outdoors meets the indoors experience.
The café serves hot food, delicious cakes, snacks and drinks and the modern comfortable design deserves a visit in itself.
A real inspiration of a project – go on, go and have an adventure!