A new Cornish cycling route that takes in some of the UK’s most spectacular coastal scenery as well as atmospheric old industrial works and bronze age monuments is due to open in the autumn.
Called the West Kernow Way, the 150-mile route begins and ends in Penzance and is designed to take four days to complete.
The charity Cycling UK has been working for more than a year on developing the project, plotting a route using bridleways, byways and quiet stretches of country road.
Highlights will include Land’s End, the most westerly place in mainland England, the Lizard Point, the most southerly spot of mainland Britain, and the island castle and gardens of St Michael’s Mount.
Other attractions include the tin mine engine houses that cling to the cliffs at Botallack and the open air Minack Theatre, which perches above the Atlantic.
Cyclists will also be able to visit the extraordinary standing stones Mên-an-Tol and Carn Brea, the hilltop castle and monument.
Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK’s campaigns officer, said: “The landscape has so much to offer, from the natural beauty of Lizard Point to the wilds of the north coast, but we want to dive into the culture and history of Cornwall too.
“The benefit of cycling off-road along the West Kernow Way is that you will steer clear of the crowds, and be able to visit the sites and find the hidden gems of Cornwall, all without filling the lanes with another car.”
Conscious of how busy Cornwall will be over the school holidays, Cycling UK intends to launch the route with a guidebook and website as the summer rush on the county draws to a close.
“Cornwall’s climate makes it attractive for cycle touring and bike packing outside of the traditional peak summer months,” said Gordon.
“Cycling UK’s intention with our new route is to give people a reason to visit the county when it’s less busy. Not only is that a good opportunity to avoid the crowds and limit risk of infection, but it can also help encourage a more sustainable tourism programme which is year-round rather than concentrated in one peak period.”
Cycle tourism in the UK generates £520m a year, the charity says. More than 1m overnight trips a year tend to benefit small businesses in particular.
Last year, Cycling UK launched a 220-mile route called King Alfred’s Way that officially starts and ends at the statue of the ninth-century king of Wessex in Winchester, and circles through parts of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Surrey.