Plenty of visitors mistakenly bypass the two inland gems of Bodmin Moor and the Tamar Valley as they rush onward to the lure of sandy beaches and dramatic coastline. However, there is good reason for their designations as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and both offer some splendid opportunities for activity, relaxation, and the chance to appreciate an off-the-beaten-track experience.
Upon first inspection, the windswept and bleak landscape of Bodmin Moor doesn’t instantly embrace the traveller, but look a little further, and you’ll find a wild beauty and romanticism here, all of which inspired Daphne Du Maurier’s famous novel, Jamaica Inn. Brown Willy is the highest point in Cornwall, and as with so many parts of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the views from here are splendid. Whether it’s history, mythology, or the great outdoors that draws a person here, there’s plenty of interest to get your teeth into on Bodmin Moor.
In contrast, the Tamar Valley is gentler, spanning the River Tamar to create a 75 square mile area of beautiful opportunity that crosses the county border into Devon. Incorporating both beauty and history, the Tamar Valley offers great opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activity. Superb cycling and walking trails allow the visitor to get right to the soul of this scenic valley, and to enjoy the abundant nature that flourishes here.
Many visitors to this area will find themselves alighting from the train here, at Bodmin Parkway, as they make their way through Cornwall from further afield, and they won’t be disappointed with what Bodmin has to offer. This town has plenty of history, sitting as it does on two ancient trade routes, and as a result has plenty to interest the visitor.
A good-sized town that serves as the gateway to Cornwall when arriving from the east, Launceston is dominated by its 11th-century castle. Once the capital of Cornwall, Launceston is an interesting and appealing place, with a good range of shops, restaurants, and pubs, making it a welcoming place to stop for a few hours, or longer if preferred.
An important town during the medieval ages thanks to being a stannary town (it was one of only five towns licensed to weigh and stamp tin in Cornwall), Liskeard has some grand buildings that act as a reminder of its past importance and prosperity. These days it’s a picturesque and lively market town that’s well-positioned to explore this area of Cornwall from.
The highest village in Cornwall, the charmingly named Minions is situated on the south east side of Bodmin Moor. Offering great views of the Moor, and beautiful scenery all around, this is the perfect place from which to start a walk to reach some of the impressive archaeological remains dating as far back as the early Bronze Age period.