This cycle route from Truro to Land’s End off-road is full of contrast: post-industrial wastelands and deprivation together with wild moors and glimpses of iconic Cornish beaches. This is the final leg of a Lowestoft to Land’s End coast-to-coast route. Nicknamed #LowLE it links England’s most Easterly and Westerly mainland points . LowLE is an adventure bike ride off-road through some of England’s finest places.
There are some long climbs on this route, but if you’ve made it from Lowestoft your legs will think this leg easier than those from Exeter! The moors north of Penzance are technical but we made it through on gravel, hybrid and mountain bikes. This was the leg where we made most navigation errors & the phone satnav ran out of charge. The navigation back-up plan worked and we arrived for a spectacular sunset.
Truro to Land’s End off-road cycle
From the Cathedral in the centre of Truro it is a haul out of town on NCR3. After crossing the busy A390 dual carriageway at a cycle crossing it’s a steep descent to river level, then another climb to Wheal Baddon. From here NCR3 picks byways as it weaves through old mining country with exposed workings and old pump houses. It is a stark contrast to the bucolic beauty of many rural parts of the ride. Hauntingly quiet.
After a spell along the Carnon River valley the route climbs steadily through to Redruth, joining roads again at Carharrack. NCR3 keeps to the south of the rail line and the main road beyond by using some very narrow streets. The first navigation error was here. It is hard work navigating, avoiding traffic hazards and looking out for finger posts which may or may not be there!
Continue on NCR3 through Brea and into Camborne. The prosperity that has endowed much beach-side Cornwall with fancy architecture has passed Camborne by. NCR3 goes though Hayle; this route cuts the corner, heading south to Leedstown. At St Erth Praze, turn south west towards St Erth. It would have been quicker to go through Hayle but this route was certainly quiet with a steep (overgrown) bridleway descent skirting Tremelling. After crossing the Hayle river, climb again on a bridleway through Trewinnard and then Tredrea Manors, then joining NCR3 again. Stay on NCR3 until a T-junction near Gwallon. Here turn sharp right, north west to cross the Red River and the railway and head for Crowlas. Pick-up any supplies you need here as it’s wild from here to Land’s End!
Land’s End Off-Road across the moors
Many years ago Cycle UK posted some outline notes for an off-road LEJoG route including this section over the moors. Although we were tired and late I was determined our final stint should be over the moors and not through the bustle of Penzance. If it had been wet and windy I might have relented but a few occasional spots of rain were not going to put me off!
Out of Crowlas head north west on Church Hill (B3309) and then turn right up the steep lane through Trenowin. (The shallower B3309 then B3311 will get you to the same place with a little more traffic.) Cross the road and head down a track which leads to Georgia and a byway through Conquer Downs joining a road at Higher Kerrowe. The bridleway around Mulfra Hill is hard to spot, a friendly cyclist pointed it out for us. It is slightly to the north of that shown on the OS map . Although our GPX track shows we followed the route exactly, it was very narrow, deeply rutted and hard work with loaded bikes. I think there was another track running parallel with the animal trail we managed to fight our way along as we saw some walkers having a much easier time as we came to a track to the north of Bodrifty.
The Y junction near Nine Maidens was another tricky navigation. Bear southwest and uphill, not northwest (and flat), then continue on to Bosullow Common and head for the B3318. Just before the road, turn left (south east) over the Beacon to Higher Tregerest. Whether going straight to Land’s End or visiting the Youth Hostel first, join the A3071 west.
Youth Hostel and Land’s End
For the hostel first, continue through St Just and Carrallack, heading for Land’s End along the B3306 then the A30. Like the far north of Scotland all roads are so small in this part of the world that the designation is almost meaningless. There was little traffic on any road, at least when we travelled outside the main tourist season.
For the off-road route to Land’s End, turn south just after Jericho Farm onto a bridleway which climbs a little before descending to Grumbla. Turn right (west) onto the minor road then right and left at the staggered junction. This byway descends and joins a bridleway which heads to Tredinney. Cross a minor road and head uphill briefly before skirting to the south of Carn Brea then descend to the A30 at Treave.
For the final approach to Land’s End you can continue on the A30 through Sennen or turn off just after Carn Towan towards Sennen Cove but then fork towards Mayon Cliff down Maria’s Lane. This is NCR3 and recommended to avoid the traffic management at busy times. NCR3 will take you from Truro to Land’s End with some off-road, but the trip over the moors is well worth it if you value the path less travelled.
Land’s End was peaceful late on a summer’s evening when we arrived. We enjoyed a tremendous sense of fulfilment having travelled all the way from Lowestoft to this remote westerly corner of England. We’d met some wonderful people, stayed in some gloriously comfy beds and eaten heartily all the way. Even through the most populous parts of the country, this route avoided heavily trafficked roads. We felt we were on a journey both west and through England’s history that included the Jurassic Coast, bronze age hill forts and standing stones, post-Norman castles & cathedrals, industrial relics and ultramodern high-finance edifices. I planned the route; I didn’t expect it to be such an amazing journey.
If you are thinking of a staycation or holiday in England we totally recommend #LowLE for 2 weeks East-West off-road on your bike. In fact I cannot wait to do it again! First I need to get training!