Yes, you did read that right. The North has the number one C2C. Devon isn’t far behind. Cornwall’s one is much less well-known… but rather fun.
Its first distinguishing feature: it’s short. Very short. At just 11 miles from north coast to south coast, it’s not just the only C2C you could complete in an afternoon, it’s the only one you could complete in an hour. But that would be a shame.
Eleven miles of former mineral railway track, almost entirely traffic-free, make this a blissfully stress-free ride for a summer afternoon. There’s nothing to interrupt your gentle amble through the Cornish countryside save the occasional café and bike hire centre. It’s bookended by two fishing villages, and there’s a hamlet at the (single) hilltop with two pubs. Sounds good? It is.
Two old railways make up the route of the path, both initially horse-drawn. The Redruth & Chasewater Railway (opened back in 1825) is the southern section, the Portreath Tramway the northern. They didn’t survive long into the 20th century, but in recent years Cornwall Council has made a concerted effort to bring these and other old mineral lines back into use as cycle routes.
Yes. The signage deserves a note as quite the most rustic on any cycle route we’ve ever seen – lumps of rock hewn from local quarries, with ‘Coast to Coast Trail’ and a mine symbol etched into them.
The gravel and compacted earth surfaces aren’t ideally suited for a road bike, though you should be ok if your tyres are tough enough. Any hybrid or mountain bike will be fine. In fact, the gradients are so gentle – a gentle climb up to 110m, and then a slow descent to the other coast – that you could readily do it on your commuter bike.
The route starts at the little fishing village of Portreath on the north coast. There’s no railway station there, but it’s only four miles (downhill) from Redruth on the Great Western mainline. The southern terminus, Devoran, is under a mile from Perranwell station on the Falmouth branch.