Exploring Cardinham Woods

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Today, as we decided to take Penny on a bit of a longer stroll than usual, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share one of my favourite walking spots with you. Tucked into the Cornish countryside a short distance from Bodmin, Cardinham Woods is a gorgeous area of mixed woodland open to walkers, horse-riders and cyclists alike. Spanning over 650 acres, there's plenty of space to explore and multiple routes to choose from, which means you can easily mix up your walk every time you visit- a real blessing for dog walkers everywhere who, from time to time, get just that little bit tired of plodding along the same old track!            

Our favourite trail is the Lady Vale Walk, as it's the easiest and prettiest route through the woodland and only takes roughly an hour to complete.

The track is named 'Lady Vale' because it follows the river upstream to the Lady Vale Bridge which, in turn, takes its name from The Chapel of Our Lady that stood beside the river in the 12th Century.

There's the Lady Vale bridge (which I was sad I couldn't step over!)

The trail makes for a really pleasant amble but I would recommend setting out earlier rather than later to truly enjoy this route in all its peaceful and secluded glory. We got to Cardinham at around ten o'clock in the morning and had the trail pretty much all to ourselves... but be warned- get there any later and you'll have a hard time navigating your way around the thousands of buggies and scooters that suddenly descend come lunchtime.

On a side note... don't get me wrong here- I'm not saying children shouldn't be allowed on the trail (I personally think its a fab place for kids...more on this later on!) but, if you're a dog-walker like myself it's best to arm yourself with the knowledge that, this being the easiest walk also makes it the most child-friendly route around the forest. So, to be on the safe side, just be sure to get in there early if you want a gentle saunter with the pooch!          

There are plenty of places along the way to stop and perch on a bench for a cheeky sandwich or two. I have hopes of coming here for a day in the Autumn and laying out a picnic amongst the leaves... although perhaps minus the crazy, river-splashing spaniel!  

Another fun thing to do whilst walking the Lady Vale route is to follow the Stick Man Activity Trail. Perfect for getting little ones to interact with nature, the activity trail is set up to keep kids entertained the whole way round the walk. There are games and challenges to complete (like building a nest out of a pile of twigs or collecting the best specimens of leaf you can find) and you might even get a special certificate for all your hard work at the end of the trail!  

As you can see, I did a spot of leaf collecting myself! More to follow on this later in the week...

There's also a lovely, wooden play area for the kids to run off any extra energy they might still have...

...as well as one of my most favourite finds in the whole of Cornwall- the fabulous Woods Cafe. A converted woodsman's cottage, this independent, local-produce-loving and dog-friendly cafe never fails to round off a visit to the woods in charming Cornish style.    

 You can choose to sit inside by the open fire or outside with your soggy dogs (although friendly, dry dogs are more than welcome by the hearth) and order something yummy from their selection of homemade treats.    

I highly recommend their Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, as well as their homemade stew and big, beefy sandwiches! Each makes for a perfect, hearty reward after a long old ramble in the woods.

This morning however, we kept it simple and ordered some mugs of tea, as well as a naughty flapjack to share, and sat outside with Penny to enjoy our post-walk snack.

That flapjack was to die for by the way, it might honestly be the best accompaniment to a Cornish brew I've ever had!

All in all, we had a lovely morning on our little walk and will definitely be making plans to return later in the year for a potential picnic or two! Of course, I'll be sure to keep you posted on any future trips over on my Instagram or on my Twitter.

Do you know of any other walks in and around Cornwall? I'd love to know in the comments below! 

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


  1. I always think what a great place Cardinham must be for dog walks whenever I'm there. Although, last time I was there we accidentally tried to walk one of the longest bike paths and had to turn back after about an hour of walking uphill! It looks like you had a much more relaxing time haha.

    1. Haha :) yes, there are some crazy routes round there! My mum once took Penny on one of the bike routes...big mistake xD hence why we take the easy trail now! thanks so much for reading xxx


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