Did you know we have some awesome flat running trails in Cornwall? While Cornwall isn’t known for it’s flat running routes, we have some trails that are perfect for the times you don’t want to battle imposing hills and mammoth inclines. I find Cornwall’s flat trails to be handy for interval sessions too.
Living in Cornwall, the coastpath is always my first trail choice. However, if you’ve ever run on the coastpath you’ll know it’s not for the fainthearted. Sometimes we just need a simple running route, with no surprises ahead!
There are 3 flat Cornish trails I’d recommend for off road running.
Pentewan Trail, St Austell
The Pentewan Trail, also referred to as Kings Wood, runs adjacent to Pentewan Road, between St Austell and Mevagissey. It starts near the Cornwall Hotel and Spa, just take the small turning opposite get to the carpark. This short, flat running trail is 2 miles in total, one way. But remember there’s a return journey to factor in. I find the Pentewan Trail handy for quick lunchtime runs, and for interval or threshold sessions.
The trail starts off as tarmac but it’s not long before you have St Austell River on your right. After about half a mile, you’ll find yourself on muddy trails. Shortly after after the second carpark make sure you take the trail on the right to keep running to the village of Pentewan. Once at Pentewan, you can turn around and head back, or you could make your way into the small village and head down to the beach.
The Pentewan Trail is very popular. You’ll be in the company of walkers, dog owners and cyclists. For that reason, I always feel safe here as a lone female runner. If you’re feeling adventurous, routes have been carved out from the trail into the woods. As you’d expect, these are super muddy, and while I’ve covered some of them, I’m not sure I’d find the same route twice.
The Camel Trail
The Camel Trail is situated on the north Cornish coast. In it’s entirety, it’s a long, old stretch. If you start at Bodmin (carpark is by the Dunmere Arms), it’s about 12 miles to Padstow. You can break it up though.
Before you get to Padstow, the Camel trail takes you to Wadebridge. This is about 6 miles from Bodmin. You have to make your way through Wadebridge before you get to the next bit of the Camel Trail, which ends at Padstow (5.75 miles). It’s all perfectly flat and offers some fab views of the Camel estuary. Plus, if you make it to Padstow and have a lift home, you can reward your efforts with some quality Rick Stein fish and chips.
The Bissoe Trail
Another lengthy trail is the Bissoe Trail; a coast to coast route. The Bissoe Trail is a mixed terrain running route, embedded in Cornwall’s tin and copper mining region. Parts of it are remote and somewhat desolate but it certainly holds it own appeal. The coast to coast route starts at Devoran and ends at Portreath. You can park at Devoran and easily join the trail which takes you under a viaduct as you head towards the north Cornish coast. The Bissoe trail is 11 miles long, offering plenty of mileage for those long marathon training runs.
Bissoe is a flat trail. There are no hills, I promise, but if you’re heading towards Portreath, it’s actually a very slow, gradual incline. I always notice I feels like I’m flying on the return journey sometimes. I also like Bissoe’s varied terrain. You’ll venture across barren land, which sometimes makes me feel like I’m running on the moon. While it’s frequented by other runners, walkers and cyclists, the Bissoe Trail can be quiet and you may not see anyone for several miles.
If you like the idea of running coast to coast on the Bissoe Trail, you may be interested in this half marathon.
Do you know of any more flat trail routes in Cornwall? It’s always handy to add them to the list. There’s coffee shops en route, or at the beginning or end of all of these flat trails. Always handy for a post run coffee and cake.