New long distance cycling route for Cornwall announced

The West Kernow Way will pass the Botallack tin mines, made famous in the BBC drama Poldark. Photo Matt Jessop / Visit Cornwall
Botallack mines, Cornwall
Botallack mines, Cornwall

New long distance cycling route for Cornwall announced

Cycling UK has unveiled its latest long distance bikepacking route, the West Kernow Way, which will give the cycling tourist a real taste and experience of Cornwall
  • Charity Cycling UK announces plans for 150-mile off-road loop route of west Cornwall starting in Penzance
  • Route to be launched for September to avoid the “summer rush” as a part of Cycling UK's EXPERIENCE project
  • Called West Kernow Way, the route will create a Cornish experience celebrating the landscape, culture and history of the region

Cycling UK today (Friday, 30 April) announces its intention to create a new long distance off-road cycling route in Cornwall which will be ready for the public to ride from September.

Called the West Kernow Way, the 150-mile route begins and ends in Penzance and is designed to be ridden over three to four days. It will take in many of the highlights of the western half of the Cornish peninsula, including the Botallack tin mines, the Bronze Age monument Mên-an-Tol, Land’s End, St Michael’s Mount and Lizard Point.

The charity has been working for more than a year on developing the route, speaking with landowners while plotting and recceing a route using bridleways, byways and quiet stretches of country roads. The West Kernow Way aims to take adventurous cyclists on a route which will give them the best of Cornwall, while avoiding the most popular tracks and trails.

Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK’s campaigns officer behind the creation of the West Kernow Way said:

“With the West Kernow Way, Cycling UK wants to create an experience for the visiting cyclist. The landscape has so much to offer, from the natural beauty of Lizard Point to the wilds of the north coast, but we want to dive into the culture and history of Cornwall too.

“The benefit of cycling off-road along the West Kernow Way is that you will steer clear of the crowds, and be able to visit the sites and find the hidden gems of Cornwall, all without filling the lanes with another car. There’s no doubt about it, it will be a challenging ride – but that’s even more of an excuse to tuck into the excellent Cornish cuisine!”

Infographic of the West Kernow Way
The West Kernow Way

Conscious of the popularity Cornwall will have over the school holidays, Cycling UK intends to launch the route with a guidebook and website as the summer rush on the county draws to a close.

“Cornwall’s climate makes it attractive for cycle touring and bikepacking outside of the traditional peak summer months,” said Sophie Gordon. “Cycling UK’s intention with our new route is to give people a reason to visit the county when it’s less busy. Not only is that a good opportunity to avoid the crowds and limit risk of infection, but it can also help encourage a more sustainable tourism programme which is year-round rather than concentrated in one peak period.”

Cycle tourism spending from cyclists in the UK generates £520m per year. There are 1.23 million overnight trips each year, benefiting small businesses in particular, and these contribute £433m to the economy. Cycling UK as one of 14 partners on the EU funded EXPERIENCE pilot project is working to deliver sustainable new off-season tourism experiences in six pilot regions in England and France, which includes Cornwall, Norfolk and Kent.

Over the next two years Cycling UK intends to launch routes in Norfolk and Kent. The charity is already working with the hospitality and accommodation sectors in these three counties to provide businesses with free equipment and advice as part of its Cycle Friendly Places initiative.

These new routes sit within Cycling UK’s wider goal to see the creation of a network of long-distance off-road routes across the length and breadth of Great Britain, taking in its amazing places and wild landscapes. The three new trails will complement England’s 15 national trails, of which only two of them are cyclable from end to end: the Pennine Bridleway and the South Downs Way.

The West Kernow Way is the fourth long distance off-road cycling route Cycling UK has launched since its riders’ route for the North Downs Way was unveiled in 2018.

In 2019, the charity launched the 800-mile Great North Trail which starts in the Peak District and finishes at either Cape Wrath or John o’ Groats. This was followed by King Alfred’s Way in 2020, a 220-mile loop route from Winchester that travels through 10,000 years’ worth of history in the south of England and ancient Saxon kingdom of Wessex.

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Contact information 

For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900 - 1700) please email or call 07786 320 713.

Notes to editors 
  1. Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often.
  2. EXPERIENCE is a €23.3 million project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF, €16 million) through the Interreg VA France (Channel) England Programme 2014-2020, boosting visitor numbers in six pilot regions across England and France. For further information see:
  3. Cycle Friendly Places is a new accreditation programme developed by Cycling UK, equipping hospitality and accommodation businesses in Cornwall, Kent and Norfolk with new skills, resources and knowledge to broaden their appeal to cycle tourists.
  4. For further information on the economic benefits of cycle tourism see:
  5. For further information on Cycling UK’s long-distance trails see:



EXPERIENCE is a €23.3 million project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF, €16 million) through the Interreg VA France (Channel) England Programme 2014-2020, boosting visitor numbers in six pilot regions across England and France. This project will harness the experiential tourism trend to extend the season (October – March), generating 20 million new off-season visitors spending €1 billion across the Channel region by June 2023.

Can't wait for the West Kernow Way?

Guidebooks for the Great North Trail and King Alfred's Way rest on a map

If you can't wait until the end of the summer for a bikepacking adventure, why not try one of Cycling UK's other long distance routes and buy one of our guides? 

All proceeds from the guides go back into supporting Cycling UK's work, which includes the creation of routes like the West Kernow Way.

Great North Trail guide

King Alfred's Way guide

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