Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

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KatePea
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Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby KatePea » 15 Feb 2012, 2:06pm

Hi,

I'm going to cycle from (SE) London to Cornwall in April. I've never done it before or idden in that direction before, so any advice for the route planning would be welcome. I'm hoping to make it a 2 day ride with a night at a hostel or B&B inbetween.

Any advice?

Thanks
Kate

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Mick F
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby Mick F » 15 Feb 2012, 2:22pm

Hi Kate.
Welcome to the forum. :D

Where abouts in Cornwall?
It makes a slight difference crossing Devon, but I need to know where you're going.

As for further out of this end, I'm sure someone will be along shortly.
Mick F. Cornwall

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MikewsMITH2
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby MikewsMITH2 » 15 Feb 2012, 3:05pm

This guy just rode straight down the A30 https://markhillary.wordpress.com/tag/a30/ Dont know whether I would recommend it but parts of the "old" A30 are very quiet, where they have been bypassed.
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horizon
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby horizon » 15 Feb 2012, 3:30pm

kate: the A30 is definitely your route but with at least 240 miles in two days I would be intrigued to know what other ideas you had in mind? (and yes, Mick F is right, the last bit depends on which part of Cornwall you want).
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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Mick F
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby Mick F » 15 Feb 2012, 3:36pm

horizon wrote: .......... 240 miles in two days ...........

SE London (ish) could be a bit less than 200miles ......... if only coming over the border into Cornwall. :wink:
Mick F. Cornwall

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horizon
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby horizon » 15 Feb 2012, 4:34pm

Mick F wrote:
horizon wrote: .......... 240 miles in two days ...........

SE London (ish) could be a bit less than 200miles ......... if only coming over the border into Cornwall. :wink:


My fast route up the A303 from Looe to Crystal Palace was 240 mles exactly. So yes, to the Tamar would be about 220 or may be a touch less. I don't think the mileage is a big problem. I've cycled all the way between London and Cornwall at various times on various routes in various chunks but never in one go. My point was that with two days the other routes like Dorset become untenable (and increase the mileage) and the alternative fast route, the A303, would be awful. So that leaves the OP with the A30 as the most obvious and indeed possibly the only viable route. I keep meaning to do the journey myself in one go (not in two days!) so I'm interested in the choice of route. I'm keen to see what other people might suggest.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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Millhouse
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby Millhouse » 16 Feb 2012, 9:56am

Hi Kate,
Have a look here http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/8969 day's 14 t0 20.
Some great cycling to be had.
Regards
Millhouse

KatePea
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby KatePea » 16 Feb 2012, 2:40pm

Thanks for all your replies - people have had some great looking trips. Very inspiring!

Ok, so unless I use the A30 the 2 days is looking a bit optimisitc - I'm trying to get to a place called Wenford Bridge, (the start of the Camel Trail in Cornwall).

I was thinking of going as far as Reading on the Thames Path and then heading for Exeter (not all in one day). I would love to cycle over Dartmoor.

I'm not too keen on the idea of cycling on busy roads unless they definitely have a hard shoulder.

dodger
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby dodger » 16 Feb 2012, 9:14pm

Not sure how much this will help, but I cycled from Swindon to Liskeard in Cornwall in 2010. Can't advise on getting from Reading to Swindon, but from there to Bath is fairly direct.
Firstly, following the line of the M4 on a number of quietish side roads, sometimes crossing over/under the motorway, then peeled off through Bath.
Partly on the Bath-Bristol cycle way then off past Chew Valley Reservoir, over the Mendips, across the Somerset Levels and along the Taunton Canal. All quietish roads.
From Taunton you can follow the A38 via Wellington and Cullompton to Exeter. It's not always too busy, but not a particularly nice road. Lots of paths alongside the road if you want, with hardly any people , but not easy riding.
I went from Taunton to Tiverton on back roads, but you can take the A38 and A361, then across country to Okehampton on fairly quiet back roads. Plenty to choose from!
From Okehampton the easiest and quickest route is via the A30. I don't like it, but at least it's dualled, so vehicles can give you plenty of room.
A few miles past Launceston turn off the A30 onto the A395 to join the A39 at Davidstow on a busyish road or, better still, carry on the A30 to Fivelanes and turn off for Altarnun and follow back roads to the A39. (much nicer)
Go through Camelford on A39 then after a mile take the B3266 towards Bodmin for a bit over 3 miles before turning left on a right angled bend onto a minor road past Hengar Manor to Wenford Bridge. Here the route on is clear.
Going across Dartmoor is strenuous but splendid if the weather is good, but it blows and rains very hard at times.
If you cross Dartmoor, turn off the B3212 at Two Bridges and follow the road to Tavistock, then follow the well marked route to Launceston and join the A30. The road from Tavistock to Launceston is often busy and I find it unpleasant at times because it's narrow but traffic is always in a hurry.
I hope you enjoy whatever route you take but it will involve hills. i.e. real hills!!

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Mick F
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby Mick F » 17 Feb 2012, 8:59am

I think two days to Wenford is a little optimistic. Three days would be better especially if you want to do Dartmoor too.

Here's my route from Okehampton to St Columb. A little too far past Wenford, but you can get the picture.
http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/Course. ... rse=185063

Dartmoor is difficult for two reasons, and I always warn people about them.
1. Hills - long ones and lots of them, and steep too.
2. The weather. If it's iffy, it's hell on earth up there. People get airlifted off the moor! There's no shelter from the wind and rain - and sun too! So be aware of the weather.

I've been up near Okehampton in sunshine and bright weather, and looked up at the moor to see black clouds just hanging there. Have an alternative route in your back pocket instead.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby phil parker » 18 Feb 2012, 4:57pm

If you are going to head for Reading to start with I would suggest you use the A4 to Bath, to get you on your way, it is a quiet, fast and comparatively flat route; here is a route I did earlier (albeit the other way round!) Garmin Connect. From Bath you can head towards Oakhampton and decide how much of Dartmoor you wish to tackle, but you can skirt around the north of Dartmoor on the old A30 as Mick F suggests or go across towards Tavistock. From there you can decide whether or not to take a fast route or a scenic route to your destination.

Personally, I would try and take three days at about 80 miles a day (depending on the eventual route you take) - you are going against the prevailing winds and it could be a challenge for 100+ miles a day.

Good Luck

Edit: I know the A303 very well from Basingstoke to Exeter and I would not want to cycle down it at any point. I have cycled down (and up) the A30 without being too intimidated and would use it for a fast escape from Cornwall, but not for a general cycling route!)

Cachao
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby Cachao » 19 Feb 2012, 11:17am

South Exmoor is excellent. Not too hilly and there's a fantastic ridge road north of Bampton. Watch out for the hills on the Cornwall coast.

Crashtel
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby Crashtel » 19 Feb 2012, 8:31pm

Hi, just found your thread, as I would love to do LEJOG but unforunately cant find a long enough period of time, so was look at 2 phases Reading to LE and them at some other stage Reading to JOG. hence my interest.

London to Reading I would go for the Sustrains Route 4 , Ive only done Windsor to Reading. I think I would struggle to get speed up for big miles, say centre of london to Reading is no problem in a day, lovely cycling by the thames. The thames path is a walkers path and although I can vouch for the number of stiles between Sonning lock and Henley, I probably wouldnt cycle it unless you are into building you upper body strength, lifting your bike over those stiles, but there is an interesting part where you trapse through peoples back gardens, you cant believe the path goes that way - maybe it doesnt.....oh well.

From Reading Ive been down the canal path to Bath, again some sections are speedy some are busy with people, anglers, and muddy with nice tree roots. Last Feb I had to pull a guy and his bike out of the canal - the roots can be tricky if you are going for speed. Route 4 would be better if you are stuck for a direct route. Beyond Bath going south west is unknown to me. Bath to Brsitol is a brilliant bit of old railway track and its fast but probably out of your way. The Taunton and Bridgewater canal was a good speedy path from memory if you get down that way..

I did Lejog on a motorbike last year and stopped at a Bundu campsite near okehampton and noticed the Granite way cycle trail goes there, but not cycled that one, but might satisfy you desire to get Dartmoor views.

The Camel trail is lovely done that a good few times but did notice last year how busy it had got once the bike hire places open but still a beautiful ride.

Thanks for starting this thread, I'll watch with interest as it develops, hopefully using some of the tips for my route. Thanks to everyone so far.

Terry

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horizon
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby horizon » 19 Feb 2012, 8:45pm

terry: once Katepea had relented a little on her pretty severe two day limit for her trip, but hadn't specified by exactly how many days she would consider increasing it by, I feared it might open the floodgates to a number of suggestions that took us away from a reasonably quick and practical route. I was going to joke and suggest that someone might even suggest going by way of John o'Groats but you beat me to it. :wink:

PS Your points about the Thmaes path etc are spot on - it wouldn't be very quick.
Last edited by horizon on 19 Feb 2012, 8:59pm, edited 1 time in total.
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horizon
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Re: Anyone know a good route for London to Cornwall?

Postby horizon » 19 Feb 2012, 8:56pm

KatePea wrote:Thanks for all your replies - people have had some great looking trips. Very inspiring!

Ok, so unless I use the A30 the 2 days is looking a bit optimisitc - I'm trying to get to a place called Wenford Bridge, (the start of the Camel Trail in Cornwall).

I was thinking of going as far as Reading on the Thames Path and then heading for Exeter (not all in one day). I would love to cycle over Dartmoor.

I'm not too keen on the idea of cycling on busy roads unless they definitely have a hard shoulder.


KatePea: your original query about a good route in two days is unrealistic without going by road and roads with hard shoulders are IMV even more out of the question. This is your thread and I think it's a good one - London to Cornwall is an interesting proposition for a cyclist. So a discussion of a good route is something I would have enjoyed but not if it becomes so undefined that it is almost pointless. One problem about London to Cornwall is that, at first sight, it appears that there must be several interesting routes - in fact it isn't that easy as many of the routes have problems such as serious hills or dual carriageways at some point along their way.

Why not give us a clearer idea of your maximum daily mileage or your maximum number of days?
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!