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Bodmin Moor

bodmin moor

Explore the Beauty of Bodmin Moor

Covering over 80 square miles in central Cornwall, captivating Bodmin Moor offers families a wonderful day out immersed in nature and heritage. With its sweeping moorland views, atmospheric ruins and varied walking trails there are plenty of adventures to be had discovering this timeless landscape. Here’s everything you need to know about a visit to majestic Bodmin Moor.

bodmin moor

Getting There

Bodmin Moor spans a large area across mid-Cornwall from Bodmin to Launceston. Well known access points like Minions or Cheesewring provide direct moor access. Smaller villages like Blisland or Temple offer quieter routes onto the moor.

By car, use the A30 or A38 then minor roads. Public transport like the Bodmin to Wenfordbridge bus allows car-free arrival.

Opening Times and Prices

As an open expanse of natural land, visitors can freely roam Bodmin Moor on public rights of way during daylight hours year-round. Car parks near trailheads are generally open 8am to 8pm daily.

Entry is free with no admission costs – just come prepared for possible rough and wet terrain with sturdy footwear and waterproofs.

Top Things to See and Do

Must-visit highlights on Bodmin Moor for families include:

  • Hiking the many scenic trails and loop routes such as around Colliford Lake, De Lank Quarries or Golitha Falls.
  • Admiring weird-shaped rock formations like the famous Cheesewring balancing rocks near Minions or the granite promontory of Rough Tor.
  • Discovering mysterious ancient sites like the Trethevy Quoit burial chamber, the enigmatic Jamaica Inn or moorland stone circles.
  • Following parts of long-distance trails including the Coast-to-Coast camel trail or 20-mile circular Bodmin Moor walk.
  • Having a go at letterboxing – this family activity involves navigating to hidden boxes at landmarks using clues.
  • Stopping for home-cooked fare and delicious cakes at one of the moorland village cafes or country pubs after your rambles.
rough tor bodmin moor

Seasonal Highlights

As well as its permanent delights, Bodmin Moor offers some seasonal treats:

  • Tregellas Bluebell Walk (April-May) – a magical carpet of vibrant blue coats the Tregellas Estate’s woods and riverbanks.
  • National Trust’s Bodmin Moors Hawk Walks (summertime) – fascinating displays of birds of prey swooping and diving across the moorscape.
  • Minions Christmas Market (December) – bustling Yuletide market in the village weighted down with gifts and seasonal food treats.

Legends of Bodmin Moor

With its remote and windswept landscape, it’s no wonder Bodmin Moor has inspired numerous chilling legends over the years. One of the most famous tells the story of Charlotte Dymond, a young servant girl murdered in 1844 after falling pregnant. According to legend, Charlotte’s ghost now haunts the moorland between Rough Tor and Brown Willy, forever trying to return to her home village.

The Beast of Bodmin legend also endures – a large phantom cat believed to roam the moor that some link to escaped big cats from private collections. Sightings of the beast go back centuries. Mysterious shapes and lights spotted in the sky have also led to speculation that Bodmin Moor is a UFO hotspot.

Other myths include the story of Jan Tregeagle, a 17th century lawyer said to have made a pact with the Devil. His tormented spirit was sentenced to bail out the River Camel with a leaking limpet shell for eternity as penance for his crimes. Bodmin Moor’s rugged beauty and aura of isolation have inspired these enduring tales of phantom beasts, ghosts and infernal punishments.

horse on bodmin moor

Practical Tips for Families

To make the most of your Bodmin Moor day out, useful pointers include:

  • Study suggested routes and print maps out before arriving. Mobile service is patchy across the moor.
  • Ensure you have walking footwear with good grip for uneven, boggy ground.
  • Bring plenty of water, snacks, weatherproof layers and wind protection.
  • Carry a compass or download an offline navigation app as mist can descend quickly.
  • Don’t stray far from marked paths – take care near abandoned quarry pits and mine shafts.

With Cornwall’s highest peaks, an ancient ceremonial landscape and heritage around every corner, Bodmin Moor offers adventure and discovery for the whole family.

bodmin moor sunset

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Bodmin Moor famous? – It is a very historic area, with many ancient monuments and beautiful scenery. Part of it is in the Cornish Mining World Heritage site.

Can you walk anywhere on Bodmin Moor? – Yes, the moor has open access status, meaning that the public are entitled to walk freely within the designated areas without having to keep to paths.

Places to visit near Bodmin Moor

There are many places you can visit when near Bodmin Moor, including:

  • Eden Project – Massive educational botanical gardens housed in biomes containing thousands of plant species from around the world. A fascinating day out.
  • Bodmin Jail – Imposing former prison now an immersive museum offering tours showcasing dark tales, Cornish history and notorious inmates.
  • Cardinham Woods – Secluded outdoor haven with pretty woodland trails, forest activities and a scenic spot for a peaceful walk surrounded by nature and wildlife.
  • Lanhydrock House – Impressive Victorian country house owned by the National Trust housing extensive gardens, parkland and scenic trails to explore.
  • Jamaica Inn – Historic smugglers inn on Bodmin Moor made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel about smugglers and pirates. On site museum.
  • Camel Valley Vineyard – Scenic Cornish vineyard near Bodmin offering tours and tutored tastings of its high quality sparkling English wines.
  • Golitha Falls – Picturesque woodland walk leading down to the stunning waterfall on the River Fowey. Perfect for a secluded picnic.
  • Bodmin and Wenford Railway – Excellent steam railway for a day out near Bodmin
  • Trethorne Leisure Park – All weather family entertainment complex with golf driving range, go kart racing track and outdoor activities from archery to laser combat.

Charming countryside and historical landmarks surround the wild Bodmin Moor.

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