Bodmin Moor. A breathtaking landscape of outstanding natural beauty. And that’s official. In the latest in our series of holiday guides, we shine a light on this stunning yet remote region, which is located only a short distance from our Cornwall holiday park
Home to the largest section of the Cornwall Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty at just under 200 square km, Bodmin Moor is a unique landscape. It’s the first thing you’ll meet when you arrive into Cornwall, with the A30 literally cutting it in half.
Much of this remote grass and heathland wilderness has been untouched over the centuries, with only the occasional view of man’s activity cropping up on the landscape.
Most of the land lies at the comparatively low height of 200 metres, rising to 400 at Rough Tor and 420 metres at Brown Willy, the highest peaks in Cornwall (but more of this later…).
There’s evidence of prehistoric settlements here while rivers such as the Fowey start the meandering course from high up on these hills.
Bodmin Moor is also a haven for wildlife, being home to a multitude of plants and protected species such as otters, Marsh Fritillary butterflies and songbirds such as the Stonechat and the Wheatear. There’s no getting away from it, it’s a remarkable place and there’s nowhere else like it in Cornwall.
Where should I start my Bodmin Moor journey?
Now, some of you may be more familiar with the Beast of Bodmin Moor, rather than highlights of the region itself. While no ‘beast’ has ever been confirmed on the moor, there has been plenty of sightings across Cornwall (this beast knows how to travel). So, a day trying to find this mythical creature is probably something of a waste of your time here in Cornwall.
We’d suggest that, instead, you laced up your walking boots and took on the challenge of trekking up Cornwall’s two peaks – Rough Tor and Brown Willy. By most mountaineers’ standards, Brown Willy and Rough Tor are not a ‘challenge’. But what they lack in toughness they make up for in reward with breathtaking views when you reach the summits. Here you’ll enjoy 360 degree panoramic views of Cornwall, looking out towards both north and south coasts. Brown Willy, which is taller than Rough Tor by just 20m, get its name from a distortion of the Cornish ‘Bronn Wennili’, which means hill of swallows. Check out the iwalkcornwall website here for some great routes around these two peaks.
What sights are there to see on Bodmin Moor?
The short answer to this question is ‘plenty’! Bodmin Moor is an ancient landscape and, as such, has landmarks that date back thousands of hears. Three of our highlights are The Cheesewring, Golitha Falls and The Hurlers.
The Cheesewring, near the village of Minions, is a natural phenomenon and the result of a geographical formation. This huge pile of granite slabs formed by weathering over thousands of years. It takes its name from its resemblance to the press-like device that was once used to make cheese.
The Hurlers is a set three standing stone circles, which date back to 1500 BC. Legend has it that some local men were playing a Cornish game known as hurling on the Sabbath and were then turned to stone as punishment.
Golitha Falls is one of our favourite places – and very photogenic (so remember to bring your camera!). The falls are a series of spectacular waterfalls along a section of the River Fowey as it makes its way through woodland of Draynes Wood.
Over the course of the falls they descend 90 metres, meaning the water is always flowing fast. One of the best times to visit is after heavy rain on the moors.
The Poldark connection
We couldn’t let a post on Bodmin Moor go by without mentioning Poldark, now could we? If you are a fan of this popular drama then you’ll be pleased to know that much of it was filmed on Bodmin Moor. Indeed, Poldark’s home of Nampara was shot on Bodmin Moor in an old farmhouse while many of the scenes on horseback, where the cast ride across the moor, were also filmed here.