03 The Camel Estuary

The Camel Estuary AONB is a broad tidal river valley, over half a mile wide at Padstow. It stretches lazily inland for five miles up to Wadebridge. A tranquil and intimate landscape, it gains a sense of shelter and richness from the many small woods and creeks that flank the estuary. On the hilltops, the full impact of the coastal winds is felt, with long distance views down the estuary to the sea. Numerous small quays line the estuary and its creeks. Small lanes are bound by high hedges and overhung with trees, with the popular Camel Cycle Trail linking Bodmin and Padstow.



Nearest beaches to the Camel Estuary are at Rock, Polzeath and Daymer Bay.



Several operators run short boat trips out of Padstow and head towards Stepper Point, Pentire Point and the outlying rocks. The Black Tor Ferry can be used to cross the Camel Estuary between Padstow and Rock.



On the north side of the estuary the service skirts the edge of the AONB on its way from St. Minver to Wadebridge. On the south side there is a service between Padstow, Little Petherick, St. Issey, Whitecross and Wadebridge. This service also continues to Bodmin.   Bus routes and timetables



General information for the Camel Estuary can be found at the Padstow Tourist Information Centre



More information for the Camel Estuary can be found here.



Although Padstow is not in the Cornwall AONB, it is home to the annual 'Obby 'Oss event, held on May Day. The pagan 'Obby 'Oss is unleashed and the narrow streets are filled with dancers wild cavortings of this age-old fertility celebration. For further events taking place in Padstow and the surrounding area please click here.



Prideaux Place, Padstow is an Elizabethan home of the Prideaux-Brune family set in lovely grounds with an ancient Deer park overlooking the Camel Estuary. Seasonal Opening hours. Again, not in the Cornwall AONB, but the Padstow Museum is worth a visit to discover the history of Padstow maritime history plus local history. Seasonal opening



The Tregunna bird hide opposite the Amble marshes lies about a mile along the Camel Trail from Wadebridge. There are further bird hides in the area - contact the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society for details. The upper reaches of the Estuary are designated a County Nature Site.



Visit the grounds at Prideaux Place - pretty woodland walks have been restored and are now open after 60 years. Seasonal opening.



The harbour town of Padstow, lies at the mouth of the Camel Estuary. Although not part of the Cornwall AONB, the town provides an important link between the Camel Estuary and Bedruthan to Padstow sections of the AONB. Padstow, is a working port, with its fleet of trawlers, netters and crabbers, and colourful harbour surrounded by pastel-washed medieval houses.



The harbour town of Padstow, lies at the mouth of the Camel Estuary. Although not part of the Cornwall AONB, the town provides an important link between the Camel Estuary and Bedruthan to Padstow sections of the AONB. The town of  Rock mirrors Padstow on the opposite side of the estuary and again lies just outside the AONB boundary. Wadebridge, lies at the heart of the Camel Estuary and the Camel Trail - a level, off-road walking , cycling and horse riding route running along the bed of the former Bodmin to Padstow railway. Wadebridge is in the middle on the 17 miles trail - its shops and cafes providing a welcome break to trail users. Wadebridge also has a number of cycle hire outlets offering day hire to complete the trail.



Click here for fantastic walks in this area from iWalk Cornwall.

On the south side of the estuary, the most popular way to enjoy the estuary is from the Camel Trail, which accommodates walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Cycle hire is available locally in Wadebridge or Padstow.

For the less mobile, there are several winding lanes that work their way down to the estuary such as at Old Town Cove, which has a small car park. On the north side of the estuary, access is more difficult, with only occasional Rights of Way. However, a walk along the country lanes here offers some impressive views. The Saints Way bisects this area to the east, from Little Petherick to Padstow.

To obtain a copy of the Saints Way Guide, click here.