Mineral Tramways in Cornwall

Paul Winkley writes…

Holiday this year was a fortnight in Portreath, Cornwall which is about 5 miles from Redruth and 284 miles from East Grinstead!

Apart from some fine surfing the village has a history deeply ingrained in the tin and copper mining which was exported from the harbour adjacent to the beach. To get the ore from the local mines were a network of tramways which are now being turned into cycle/bridleways.

The most popular is the newly completed coast to coast cycleway from Portreath to Devoran over a distance 12 miles. Although sometimes a bit tricky to follow once ‘in the groove’ you become accustomed to following the signs.

I managed ‘there and back’ comfortably in 2 ½ hours with tea and sightseeing stops but was going 2 – 3 times quicker than most leisure cyclists I encountered. Going is generally similar to the Forest Way just a little rougher in some sections. You can, if you wish along the coast to coast route take a couple of ‘loops’ at Wheal Plenty through Unity Woods and Beeside both of which are well worthwhile so long as you are riding a bike with at least front suspension! I can also recommend a fine lunch at the Old Quay Inn at Devoran.

A map [PDF] can be downloaded at www.cornwall.gov.uk/mineral-tramways of the coast to coast route and other tramway schemes in the area due to be complete for 2008. If you’re down that way I would recommend you check it out!