Cycling Cornwall’s Clay Trail

The Eden Project sat with its domes shining in the sunshine as we mounted our bicycles ready to go exploring through a landscape which had been created from 250 years of clay mining.  The recreational paths around here are aptly named the ‘Clay trails‘ for that very reason.

The Eden Project domes - Cornwall

The clay mined from this corner of Cornwall is china clay.  It is known as white-gold and is extremely fine.  The coarsest grains of china clay are finer than most talcum powders. 
It was originally used to make porcelain but is now mainly used as glazing for glossy paper, in paints and in medicines.

The ‘Boyfriend’ and I were about to cycle the ‘Eden to Wheal Martyn trail’.  A short cycle trail that would allow us time to also indulge our senses at the Eden project.  We easily escaped the confusion of the car park and pedalled up hill and onto a gravel path which would take us to the unique place of working mines, clay pits and luminous green and blue pools.

You can't get lost with this sign!
The white gravel trail

We followed the frequent signs as the path took us among leafy trees, over-grown fields, through areas of rocky ground and down muddy tracks.  Coming from the opposite direction the occasional horse and their rider, dog walkers or the random jogger would pass us pedalling our bicycles.  The trail became slightly hilly and the anticipation of seeing the clay pits was building.  I knew we were close when I noticed the gravel becoming white in colour and powdery in texture.

As we rounded a bend a huge clay pit engulfed our vision and the colour of the water in it had us transfixed. It was a stunning translucent blue with hints of green like that from a piece of candy.  A couple of mining huts could be seen close to its edges and the thought of summer time swimming came to mind ( not that it would ever be allowed ).

The clay pit looking beautiful
The stunning water in the pit

As we cycled around the top of the huge white rocky outcrop of the pit enjoying the scenic views on offer, in the distance we could see what looked like an upside down ice-cream cone.  It was a clay tip peak towering into the sky comfortably surrounded by a hue of purple heather.  It looked out of place on the landscape yet impressive at the same time.

Clay tip peak standing impressively

The powdery gravel lightly dusted our shoes as we found ourselves happily cycling all over the tracks looking at every nook and cranny in the area.  Eventually we headed back the way we came enjoying the sunshine on our backs and the breeze through our hair.

Visiting the Eden Project was definitely an added bonus.  We spent hours admiring all the plants, creative sculptures and interactive art work in and around the enormous domes.  I fondly remember walking through some stunning floral displays, smelling a collection of natural scents from the perfume vats and even experiencing a sense of the tropics amongst the largest rainforest in captivity with its steamy jungles and waterfalls.

The Eden Project has such a wide variety of plants from around the world, each with their own amazing colour, texture, smell and shape.  It was mind-boggling and I would love to venture back to this place again.  We had a great day out and even though the clay trail was short in distance the Eden Project sat on the back doorstep waiting to fill up the rest of our day!

22 thoughts on “Cycling Cornwall’s Clay Trail

  1. Wow, I would love to go to the Eden Project one day. I love the idea of a tiny tropical ecosystem encapsulated in a manmade bubble. Your pictures are also stunning and it looks like you had a great trip!

    1. Ha ha! Logan’s Run – we watched that the other month as it was on telly. I suppose the Eden Project photo sort of has that resemblance? never looked at it like that before.

  2. What a great post about the Eden project, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit (the gardener in me!) and I hand’t realised about the great cycle paths. Thanks. It’s now back on the list as a must vsit soon place. thanks 🙂

  3. I have heard a lot about Eden Project, but never been there. I have been to Lostwithiel and St Austel and Bodmin. I would love to bike around this area. The Camel trail is quite nice for biking too.

  4. What fun! Your site is exacty what I was wishing to happen upon — I’ll enjoy cycling England and beyond vicariously through your words and photos. And plan my own someday cycling trip as I read about yours. Love that milky water — it looks like the glacial lakes of western US and Canada full of rockflour. Not quite believable even when seen in person.

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