Little do visitors realise as they journey along the A30 through Cornwall what lies beyond this major trunk road as it dissects Bodmin Moor. If visitors take the time and are curious enough to veer off the A30 and follow signs to Colliford Lake they will enter a land of myth and legend. Bodmin Moor covers an area of 80 square miles and makes up over a fifth of the Cornwall AONB (the largest single section).
This is an historic landscape with evidence of human habitation dating back to early Neolithic times and you cannot fail to experience the sensation that you are travelling back through time when you visit the ‘Moor’ and its small settlements. Where else can you sense the spirit of King Arthur as you stand beside Dozmary Pool at dusk, legend tells us it was here that the loyal Sir Bedivere returned King Arthur’s enchanted sword to the mysterious ‘Lady of the Lake’ and Daphne Du Maurier also gained her inspiration for her novel ‘Jamaica Inn’ from the remoteness of this mystical landscape.
In reality, life has not been easy for the inhabitants of Bodmin Moor and no visit would be complete without calling at the village of Minions with its excellent interpretation centre. In the mid-18th century Bodmin Moor was a hive of activity with the development of the Phoenix and Caradon mines and the encroachment of smoke stack engine houses and clattering tramways. At the height of the industrial revolution, tin, copper and arsenic were all extracted from this landscape, a treasure trove of mineral wealth which eventually fell into decline as a result of the availability of more efficient and economical extraction both at home and abroad taking its toll on the Cornish mining industry.
If you’re feeling energetic you could walk ‘The Copper Trail’ – a 60 mile circular walk along footpaths, tracks and lanes around the whole of Bodmin Moor. It takes you through the evocative remains of Cornwall’s hard rock mining industry (which now World Heritage status) and past 5000 year old prehistoric monuments. You’ll be pleased to hear that the trail is divided into six easy-to-walk sections see www.coppertrail.co.uk
So next time you’re motoring along the A30 why not become a ‘time traveller’ and take a detour through and around the historic landscape of Cornwall AONB Bodmin Moor.