As British road cyclist Mark Cavendish MBE and other superstars start the Tour of Britain, a picturesque cycling route has been launched in Cornwall, UK.
The West Kernow Way is a new route and one of many exciting initiatives being developed by project EXPERIENCE, funded by the EU’s Interreg France (Channel) England programme.
EXPERIENCE aims to deliver sustainable off-season tourism opportunities in six pilot regions in England and France, including Cornwall, Norfolk and Kent.
Developed by charity Cycling UK, the West Kernow Way is a largely off-road 150-mile (230 km) loop route starting in Penzance.
It crosses the Cornish landscape, using quiet roads, bridleways, byways and lost ways. It takes in rugged coastlines, old miners’ tracks and sites such as the World Heritage Site of the Tin Coast including the Botallack tin mines, the Bronze Age monument Mên-an-Tol, Land’s End, St Michael’s Mount and Lizard Point and is estimated to take three to four days to complete.
The charity has worked for over a year developing and consulting on the route, including site surveying and recceing the route to bring about the right balance between adventure and challenge.
The route’s development proved complex, as the cycling charity has had to delve into the archives and unearth old maps in its hunt for lost paths which could take cyclists away from busy roads. Some of the lost ways the route reclaims are along the Tinners Way on the Penwith Peninsula. This ancient 18-mile trail running from St Ives to Cape Cornwall has its origins in the Bronze Age, but more recently was an important highway used by horse and cart to transport valuable ore during Cornwall’s mining boom of the 18th and 19th century.
Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK’s campaigns officer behind the creation of the West Kernow Way said:
“The West Kernow Way is an adventure cycling route, that takes you to the famous familiar sites along unfamiliar but fantastic trails. Travelling through lost lanes and forgotten ways, you get to experience Cornwall’s rugged beauty, its history and culture – and of course, of great importance to any cyclists: the hearty Cornish cuisine!”
Cycle tourism spending from cyclists in the UK generates £520m per year. The 1.23 million overnight trips each year, benefiting small businesses in particular, account for a £433m contribution to the economy. By launching the West Kernow Way after the summer holidays, Cycling UK aims to prolong the cycle tourism season in Cornwall, in line with the ambition of Interreg project EXPERIENCE.
As one of the 14 partners involved in project EXPERIENCE, Cycling UK intends to launch new routes in Norfolk and Kent in 2022.
Further information, including route files, online guidebook and background are available at: www.cyclinguk.org/west-kernow-way.
• Experiential Tourism to Extend the Visitor Season | Interreg (channelmanche.com)
• EXPERIENCE website: https://www.tourismexperience.org
• Cycling UK: www.cyclinguk.org