There are many day trips from Bodmin. Within a couple of miles of the town lie two of the region’s best Georgian residences, intimate, quirky Pencarrow and the grand, imposing fifty-roomed mansion at Lanhydrock. Both are set in lush grounds with gardens and woodland, lending themselves to gentle exploration at a leisurely pace. In the same vein, roam free with the deer in Cardinham Woods, while buzzards soar overhead; here marked trails wend their way through ravines and streams feeding Cardinham Water and make for a lovely day out, with picnic areas and children’s play area for those with little ones in tow. The Camel Trail is ideal for ramblers and cyclists of all ages and abilities, connecting Bodmin easily with the outlying towns of Wadebridge and Padstow, though train buffs may wish to join it from the comfort of a steam train ride on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway. In addition to a nostalgic ride on one of the locomotives, true railway enthusiasts will want to extend their visit to see the restoration work being painstakingly carried out on trains being worked on in the Engine Shed. If wine rather than wagons is your thing, then don’t miss a visit to the Camel Valley Vineyards, where they have been producing internationally recognised wines on the sunny, south-facing slopes of the Camel River for over fifteen years. Tours and tastings are available, though it is wise to book in advance. Guided tours of a different nature can be enjoyed at Carnglaze Caverns, near one of Bodmin Moor’s access towns, St. Neot. Here, a forty-five minute visit delves more than one hundred metres into the hillside to reveal three stunning underground caverns of cathedral-like proportions, hewn out of the slate by local miners.
No visit to Bodmin is complete without a drive, ramble or cycle up on to famous Bodmin Moor, which is best known for the ongoing mystery as to the existence or otherwise of its famous Beast. Sightings of a large cat, variously thought to be a lynx, cougar, puma or other feline visitor, continue, yet evidence of its presence has never been conclusive. Whilst a potential encounter with a wild cat will inject your ramble with an extra spark of excitement, you are far more likely to come across one of Bodmin’s wild horses on your ramble; like Exmoor and Dartmoor, wild ponies graze freely on Cornwall’s most accessible stretch of wild moor land. Access to the moor can be gained from various points, notably Bodmin, Jamaica Inn, Camelford, Blissland, St. Neot or Launceston. The southern moor land reveals Cornwall’s prehistoric legacy; Trevethy Quoit and the three stone circles making up The Hurlers being two of the best examples, whilst some excellent vantage points lie to the west of the main A30 road cutting across the moor; Bolventor and Dozmary Pool provide two of these, wrapped up in the myths of Arthurian legend for added romance.