For anyone seeking thrills, spills or sea-view chills, here’s our guide to enjoying the best that Cornwall’s outdoors have to offer.
From simply lacing up your boots and hitting the coast path, to donning a life jacket and heading out on the water, there’s plenty to keep you active in the outdoors across the Duchy. This month, we explore the many and varied ways that you can make the most of your time in Cornwall, whether you’re planning a trip, or you live here and are searching for new ways to enjoy the weekends.
If hitting the water is your idea of an outdoor adventure, then you’re in the right county. There’s a whole array of activities to get stuck into across Cornwall, whether it’s learning surf, or heading out on a charter and catching your own supper.
The Hoxton Special (www.thehoxtonspecial.com) for instance, on Marazion Beach, is a watersports centre with fantastic facilities, offering SUP hire and instruction, kayak hire, and supervised kitesurfing instruction, as well as other health and fitness classes. Angus tells us: “We refer to ourselves as a ‘blue gym’, which basically means that we’re a community interest company that utilises our natural surroundings to enhance health and wellbeing.”
Perhaps you want to delve beneath the surface and see what lives under the waves. If so, Kennack Diving (www.kennackdiving.co.uk) on the Lizard offers diving trips for all levels. Owners David and Des can arrange bespoke dives, which have become extremely popular thanks to the pair’s intimate knowledge of the local waters. Divers as young as 12 can take part and what’s more, if you fancy gaining a specialist dive qualification, David and Des are fully qualified to guide you through it.
One activity that’s really taken off in recent years is SUP (stand-up paddle boarding). With roots in Hawaii, SUP derives from surfing, but requires a rider to stand or kneel on the board and use a paddle to move. It’s also evolved into a much more leisurely pursuit, particularly on calmer days, making it perfect for gently traversing the hidden coves and inlets along Cornwall’s craggy coastline, exploring areas that are simply inaccessible from land.
Why not give SUP a go on the Lizard peninsula? Home to the UK’s most southerly point, here you’ll also find Lizard Adventure (www.lizardadventure.co.uk). Working with the National Trust and supporting Surfers Against Sewage (co-founder Annette is a regional SAS rep), Lizard Adventure offers adventure days on the water with the environment in mind. You can enjoy activities that include kayaking and coasteering, as well as SUP sessions, which sometimes result in encounters with rare and endangered species like seals and basking sharks.
Perhaps this is your idea of fun but you don’t want to waste time travelling there from your north Cornish retreat. If so, get in touch with Cornish Rock Tors (www.cornishrocktors.com). Based in Port Gaverne and offering a wealth of activities including coasteering, sea kayaking and SUP, Cornish Rock Tors has the added benefit of an all weather venue, Tregildrans Quarry – a freshwater lake set in a quiet wooded valley, perfect for when the weather is less forgiving.
Of course, for some, SUP doesn’t offer the ‘rush’ factor that gives outdoor adventure the edge they’re looking for. If this sounds like you, then head to Camel Ski School in Rock (www.camelskischool.com), where you’ll find water-based fun for the whole family. In addition to teaching waterskiing and wakeboarding for all levels, the team, headed up by Charlie Toogood, offers a host of fun inflatable rides, including the banana boat, ringos and the ‘sofa’. Charlie tells us: “We also offer wakesurfing, an addictive and exhilarating combination of surfing and wakeboarding. Basically it’s like surfing an endless wave, and it’s a huge amount of fun!”
For those of you just visiting Cornwall, we couldn’t blame you for wanting to indulge your adventurous side without having to leave your resort. After all, holidays should be easy, right? Fortunately, as Stuart Beveridge from Retallack Resort and Spa (www.retallackresort.co.uk) tells us: “If you’re looking for an action-packed day out then our famous inflatable Aqua Park or unique FlowRider are for you. We’re based in the heart of the Cornish countryside, just a short distance from local beaches and walking trails – the perfect basecamp for an adventurous Cornish break.”
You’ll also find action aplenty at Kernow Adventure Park (www.kernowadventurepark.com) on its impressive inflatable aqua park. The park includes slippery slides, floating trampolines, air bags, climbing frames and more, all of which is connected by floating walkways. To find out more and learn about our exclusive readers’ discount, click here.
Finally, if you simply want to get outside and see the rugged Cornish coast without getting [too] wet, there’re no better views than those enjoyed from the water. And what could be better than catching your own supper? Anglo Dawn (www.anglodawn.com) offers half and full days out on the water from Falmouth, offering both scheduled outings and private charters. Skipper Andy, who recently bought the business, knows the local waters like the back of his hand, so whether you fancy a spot of wildlife watching or an afternoon’s serious angling, he’s the man to ask.
For those who’d rather stay dry, we have the two-wheeled approach. Linking the towns of Padstow, Wadebridge, Wenfordbridge and Bodmin through 18 miles of Cornish countryside, the Camel Trail also leads you along a disused railway and the Camel estuary – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that proffers both stunning views and occasional sightings of some of Cornwall’s incredible (and often rare) wildlife. It’s a highlight for residents all across the Duchy, as well as thousands of visitors every year, and even if your trusty bike has found itself resigned to a rusty shed corner, worry not! You can hire bikes from Bridge Bike Hire in Wadebridge at the start of the trail (www.bridgebikehire.co.uk). Whatever you need – be it special needs bikes with wheelchairs, trailers for dogs, child seats, balance bikes, or mountain bikes – Bridge Bike Hire has you covered, also offering super-comfort hybrid bikes for adults. And if you are planning on bringing the dogs, they’ll be pleased to hear that dog trailers come complete with a bowl and water!
Another of our favourite trails is the coast-to-coast mineral tramway, a trail that winds for 11 miles from Bissoe to Devoran. Although hilly in parts, this route is well worth the effort, with highlights including the day-glo mud banks bordering the Carnon River, and Poldice valley – once a site of copper ore extraction. Take it all in from the saddle with hire bikes from Go ByCycle (www.cornwallbikehire.co.uk). Offering high quality bike hire and promoting a healthy lifestyle, the Go ByCycle team has everything you could possibly need, from British-made steel and carbon road bikes and German electric touring bikes, to family steeds of all kinds. What’s more, they can deliver your rentals straight to your accommodation, to the train station, or even to the airport, meaning you can hit the trails as soon as you arrive!
But cycling isn’t just for days out. In fact, for the team at Triathlon Store (www.triathlonstore.co.uk), it makes up but a third of what they specialise in. Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, especially here in Cornwall, but it demands a great deal of both your fitness and gear. Thankfully, Triathlon Store stocks everything you need to take on such a challenge, whether you’re just starting out, or are well seasoned and looking to upgrade your gear. Even if you’re just looking for good, solid equipment for your swimming, cycling or running regime, you won’t go wrong with friendly advice from the Triathlon experts.
Well there you go! We’ve covered a lot of ground over the last few pages, and now we’re certain you will too. Isn’t it time you unleashed your inner adventurer?