Developed by Cycling UK, the West Kernow Way is a largely off-road 150-mile (230km) loop route starting in Penzance.
Cyclists looking for a different way to experience Cornwall can do so on England’s newest route, the West Kernow Way. It winds its way through the Cornish landscape in a figure of eight, using bridleways, byways, quiet roads and ‘lost ways’. It takes in rugged coastlines, old miners’ tracks and various ode worlde sites and is estimated to take three to four days to complete. It’s sure to sit along other famed UK multi-day mountain bike routes.
Cycling UK 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 has been made more difficult, as the cycling charity has had to delve into the archives and unearth old maps as it hunted for lost ways which take cyclists away from roads.
Despite its historic use and suitability for riding along, parts of it are not currently recorded as bridleways which cyclists and horse riders can use. For this and several other sections along the West Kernow Way, Cycling UK has submitted applications to Cornwall Council for Definitive Map Modification Orders to correct these anomalies from when the rights of way maps were originally drawn up, and ensure the routes are protected for future use by the public.
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. Online map of the West Kernow Way route available here.
In 2019, the charity launched the 800-mile Great North Trail which starts in the Peak District and finishes in 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.
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 the UK, taking in its amazing places and wild landscapes. The three new trails will complement England’s 15 national trails, of which only two are cycleable from end to end: the Pennine Bridleway and the South Downs Way.
Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK: “The West Kernow Way is an adventure cycling route, that takes you to the famous familiar sites along unfamiliar but fantastic trails. Traveling 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!”