Wadebridge to Polbrock

Wadebridge to Polbrock

A circular walk from Wadebridge through the Treraven nature reserve, bluebell woodland at Hustyn Mill and meadows along the River Camel to Polbrock, returning along the Camel Trail.

Get the app to guide you around the walk

Phone showing walk for purchase
Download the (free) app then use it to purchase this walk.
Phone showing Google navigation to start of walk
The app will direct you to the start of the walk via satnav.
Hand holding a phone showing the iWalk Cornwall app
The app guides you around the walk using GPS, removing any worries about getting lost.
Phone showing walk directions page in the iWalk Cornwall app
The walk route is described with detailed, regularly-updated, hand-written directions.
Person looking a directions on phone
Each time there is a new direction to follow, the app will beep to remind you, and will warn you if you go off-route.
Phone showing walk map page in the iWalk Cornwall app
A map shows the route, where you are at all times and even which way you are facing.
Phone showing facts section in iWalk Cornwall app
Each walk is packed with information about the history and nature along the route, from over a decade of research than spans more than 3,000 topics.
Person looking at phone with cliff scenery in background
Once a walk is downloaded, the app doesn't need wifi or a phone signal during the walk.
Phone showing walk stats in the iWalk Cornwall app
The app counts down distance to the next direction and estimates time remaining based on your personal walking speed.
Person repairing footpath sign
We keep the directions continually updated for changes to the paths/landmarks - the price for a walk includes ongoing free updates.
The walk follows the River Camel upstream from Wadebridge, then heads inland across the Treraven Farm nature reserve to the pretty hamlet of Burlawn. The route then drops into the woods and follows a stream to Hustyn Mill and through Bishop's Wood to its confluence with the River Camel. The walk then heads upriver to Polbrock Bridge and follows the Camel Trail back to Wadebridge along the edge of Gaff Wood and Treraven Wood.


  • The steep descent into Mill Pool Wood is a bare earth path without steps and so likely to be slippery after wet weather.

Buy walk

Sign in to buy this walk.

This walk is in your basket. Proceed to your basket to complete your purchase.

My Basket Remove from basket

You own this walk.

An error occurred while checking the availability of this walk:

Please retry reloading the page. If this problem persists, please contact us for assistance.

Reload page

Vital statistics

  • OS Explorer: 106
  • Distance: 6.8 miles/10.9 km
  • Steepness grade: Easy-moderate
  • Recommended footwear: walking boots

OS maps for this walk

OS Explorer 106 OS Explorer 106 (laminated version)

Click or tap on map for more info (blue=laminated)


  • Attractive riverside scenery along the River Camel
  • Pretty wildflowers in the woodland at Mill Pool Wood
  • Views across the Camel Valley from Burlawn
  • Woodland all the way from Burlawn to Wadebridge
  • Wide variety of birdlife all along the route

Pubs on or near the route

  • The Bridge on Wool
  • The Molesworth Arms
  • The Swan Hotel

Adjoining walks


  1. Make your way from the car park to the Camel Trail roundabout then follow the ahead to the mini roundabout in the centre of the town.

    At the start of the 1880s, the rocks on which the Eddystone Lighthouse was built began to crack due to erosion by the sea. Granite was quarried for a new lighthouse at the De Lank quarry and brought to Wadebridge where stonemasons dovetailed each block to those in all directions for high strength. Once each layer was checked for a fit with the one above, it was shipped from Wadebridge and the completed 49 metre lighthouse was lit in 1882. The road where the masons worked became known as Eddystone Road, which now links Wadebridge to the Camel Trail to Padstow. The lighthouse is still in operation today.

  2. Cross the roundabout to The Platt (with the hexagonal shelter) on the opposite side and walk past the Co-op, through its car park and past the short-stay car park to reach a signpost to "Challenge Bridge".

    Swans are so strongly associated with Wadebridge that one features on the town's coat-of-arms and there's an inn named The Swan. The swan nests on the islands in the river used to get flooded on spring tides, so the people of Wadebridge built them new ones, raised roughly a metre on each side of the bridge. The swans now happily nest in their less damp accommodation.

  3. Turn left at the "Challenge Bridge" signpost and follow the pavement to reach a circular paved area. Bear right through this and follow the tarmac path towards the footbridge.

    The suspension footbridge upriver of the road bridge at Wadebridge is known as either Bailey Bridge, Challenge Bridge or Anneka's Bridge. It was constructed in the early 1990s by Anneka Rice during her TV series "Challenge Anneka".

  4. Before the footbridge, turn right to stay on the right-hand bank and follow the riverside path upriver until the path ends on the lane.

    The bridge in Wadebridge dates back to mediaeval times. Distressed at the deaths occurring regularly at the river crossing, the vicar of Egloshayle planned the building of the bridge which was completed in 1468. Tolls were collected and these were used to pay for maintenance of the bridge. The bridge was widened twice from its original 3 metre width: once in Victorian times, and substantially more so in the 1960s - to accommodate motor vehicles, for which this was the main crossing of the River Camel until the bypass was built in the 1990s. The fourteen arch mediaeval bridge was known as the "Bridge on Wool". For a while, this was interpreted literally: that wool bales could have been used as part of the pier foundations, however, it has since been established that the bridge rests on bedrock. The name is more likely to be an allusion to the original source of funding for the bridge.

  5. Turn left onto the lane and follow it to the Camel Trail sign.

    The area of Wadebridge along the river towards Bodmin is known as Guineaport. It is thought that the name stems from a time when the river channel was deeper and the town was a busy port. Many ships were moored along the wharfs and harbour, and the charge for mooring a ship at the port was one Guinea.

  6. Keep right, to stay on the lane, at the Camel Trail sign and follow it a short distance ahead to a bend.

    The settlement at Wadebridge dates back at least to early Mediaeval times with a licence for a market being recorded in 1312. Originally there was no bridge and thus the settlement was called "Wade" (as this is what you had to do when crossing the ford). This far down the River Camel, numerous tributaries had emptied into the river so the crossing was quite perilous. Chapels were situated either side of the river to pray for a safe crossing, and give thanks should the other side be successfully reached. The death toll, both in human lives and livestock, was the motivation for the building of the bridge.

  7. At the bend, take the track ahead marked as Public Footpath. Follow the track past a pair of metal gates until it ends in a wooden gate.

    During the 20th Century, much of the salt marsh along the River Camel, which supports diverse bird life, was drained for agricultural land. In 2001, the Gaia Trust acquired the meadow below Treraven Farm in Wadebridge and together with Cornwall Council, embarked in the Camel Valley Wetland Restoration Project. Treraven Marshes were re-flooded in 2007 and a long list of bird species, new to the site, have been recorded since. Cornwall Wildlife Trust have designated the marshes the first new County Wildlife Site in 20 years. There is a bird hide next to the Camel Trail overlooking the marshes.

  8. Go through the gate, or cross the stile, and follow the path between the hedge and fence to another gate.

    Egloshayle was once a small self-contained settlement, based around the church on the opposite side of the river.

    Egloshayle is now an area within the Wadebridge conurbation but was once a distinct settlement. The name Egloshayle is from the Cornish words eglos (meaning church) and heyl (meaning estuary) and is pronounced to reflect this ("eglos-hale" not "eglo-shale"). It was originally a Bronze Age settlement and later a river port, rivalling Padstow. The river trade is reported to include tin, clay, wool, and vegetable crops. The wool component of the trade may well be the origin of the name "Bridge on Wool" given to the bridge at Wadebridge.

  9. Go through the gate and follow the path until it ends at a junction.

    From December until the spring, celandine leaves are quite noticeable along the edge of paths. They have a shape similar to a "spade" in a pack of cards and are patterned with lighter green or silvery markings.

    Plants contain chlorophyll (the green stuff) which is able to use energy from sunlight to break down a water molecule. The breakdown of water is why plants release oxygen. Some photosynthetic bacteria break down hydrogen sulphide instead of water.

    The electrons and protons remaining from the water after oxygen has been formed are funnelled away by bio-molecules in the plant. These are used to drive another chemical reaction to convert a bunch of carbon dioxide and water molecules into a simple sugar molecule such as glucose.

    Sugar is effectively a store of energy, and the reaction can be run in reverse to generate energy when needed. At night, when there is no sunlight, plants run off their sugar reserves, consume oxygen and emit carbon dioxide - just like we do.

    There quite a few different simple sugars - fructose, maltose etc - but they all have the same chemical formula as glucose (they just have their bits arranged in different orders). Simple sugars are polymerised (chained together) into sucrose (glucose attached to fructose) for medium-term storage and also starches (mega-long sugar chains) for longer-term storage in a root or seed. Sugars are also used to create cellulose - the building material used by plants.

  10. At the junction, turn left and walk through the parking area and join the path departing from the other side to reach a fork.

    Treraven Farm, whose land adjoins the River Camel upriver from Wadebridge and the Camel Trail, was acquired by the Gaia Trust in 1999. A community forest has been planted, adjoining the oak woodland of Treraven Wood along the Camel Trail, and permissive paths have been created through the woodland that connect to the public bridleway.

  11. At the fork, turn left and follow the path to a gate on the right marked Permissive Access to Treraven Farm.

    The settlement of Treraven dates back to the Middle Ages. It is first recorded in 1208 when it is spelt "Treruvin".

  12. Go through the gate and continue ahead into the meadow. Follow the treeline on the right to a gap in the far hedge.

    Blackthorn and hawthorn trees both grow in similar places but in each season there are different ways to tell them apart.

    In spring, blackthorn is one of the first trees to flower. The white blossom appears before the leaves in April. In warm weather, the leaves may quickly catch up and this is when it can get mistaken for hawthorn, which produces leaves before flowers. However, there are a few other ways to distinguish the flowers: blackthorn pollen is orange whereas hawthorn is pink, fading to black. Hawthorn petals overlap each other whereas blackthorn is more "gappy".

    In summer, the leaf shape can be used to tell them apart. Blackthorn leaves are a classic leaf shape with slightly serrated edges. Hawthorn leaves have deep notches dividing the leaf into several lobes a bit like oak.

    In autumn, pretty much all hawthorn trees have small red berries, even the windswept specimens on the coast. Blackthorn trees may have purple sloes, but not all the trees fruit each year. Some years seem to result in a lot more sloes than others.

    Hawthorn trees are often a little bigger than blackthorn, especially in harsh environments such as on the coast. Blackthorn tends to form thickets whereas hawthorn are typically distinct trees. Hawthorn bark is usually shiny whereas blackthorn is dull. The thorns on hawthorn tend to be shorter (less then 2cm) and point slightly forwards on the stem. Blackthorn has longer spikes that stick out at right angles.

  13. Go through the gap and follow the grassy corridor to emerge into a meadow.

    The Gaia Trust is a small Cornish charity established in 1988, dedicated to preserving biodiversity and providing public access to nature, and have won a number of National awards for their work. Their farms and nature reserves are all open to the public, and they run a range of events for the public at their farms.

  14. Continue ahead to meet the protruding treeline on the right then follow along this to a gateway in the corner with the far hedge.

    Crows are omnivores and their ability to eat anything from animal feed to potato chips has allowed them to capitalise on food sources created by humans. Their problem-solving skills also allow them to access food that less savvy animals cannot, for example tugging on bin liners and tucking each fold under their feet to raise the contents of waste bins in motorway service stations.

  15. Go through the gateway and follow along the right hedge then follow the grassy track leading out of the meadow to reach a gateway with a waymark.

    Blackberries are high in vitamin C, K and antioxidants. The seeds, despite being a bit crunchy, contain omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and further enhance blackberries' "superfood" status.

    As well as producing seeds both sexually and asexually, brambles can also clone themselves to create daughter plants either via underground stems (rhizomes) or by the over-ground stems rooting where they meet the ground.

  16. Go through the gateway and bear left across the field to a gateway with a metal gate.

    Dandelion and burdock was originally an alcoholic drink made from the roots of dandelion and burdock plants. In the Middle Ages the roots were fermented to create a light mead. During Victorian times, the non-alcoholic soft drink version was made as a result of the Methodist Temperance movement.

  17. Go through the gate and bear left onto the track. Follow the track to a bend with a gateway ahead leading into a field.

    The trees along the right-hand side of the track get the sun from the south.

    Since the multi-lobed leaves are found in shade, whist the teardrop leaves are found in sun, this allows the leaves of ivy plants growing up trees to be used as a compass. Unless something is in the way then the sunniest side of a tree is to the south and the shadiest is to the north.

  18. Turn left to stay on the track and follow it until it ends at a lane, next to a white house.

    Handling primroses is best avoided as the hairs on the leaves and stems can cause contact dermatitis which is quite severe in some people. It is thought that some people may develop a tolerance with repeated exposure but nevertheless a study in a medical journal found that over a quarter of Primula growers experienced skin reactions.

    Blackbirds can be found in deciduous woodland, particularly where there is dense undergrowth. In the man-made landscape, hedges provide plenty of dense undergrowth and have consequently become a really important habitat for blackbirds. Moreover, many gardens have such a high density of hedges and bushes that they are able to support ten times the blackbird population versus an equivalent area of their natural woodland habitat.

  19. Where the track emerges on a lane, bear left onto the lane and follow it to a junction.

    After A and B roads, the next smallest in Cornwall (by level of traffic) are C roads and then finally the U roads (often small lanes). Both are normally the same minor road colour on OS maps but the C roads are normally drawn with fatter lines. C and U roads are numbered by each council so Cornwall has its own set of numbers. They are not unique nationally, only locally, so the road number for each of these will be the same as several totally unrelated roads in other parts of Britain. The other quirky thing particularly with U roads is that several small lanes in the same area will often be given the same number. Consequently the C and U numbers are not printed on signs to avoid totally confusing motorists.

  20. Turn left at the junction into Burlawn, and follow the lane downhill until you reach another junction.

    The place names "Burlawn", "Burlorn" Tregoose, Lower "Burlone" and "Bozion" Farm are all various failed attempts to write down the Cornish name Boslowen (which transliterates from Cornish as "happy dwelling"). The surreal-sounding "Burlone Pillow" was originally Boslowen Polbrogh (as it lay between Boslowen and Polbrough).

  21. Bear left to stay on the lane and follow it towards the phone box. Then follow the lane right, past the pump, until you reach a tarmacked driveway for Hillside on the right.

    The main route from Padstow to Bodmin was once near here across the Hustyn Downs. It's likely this is the way that the monks would have fled from the Lanwethinoc monastery at Padstow as it was sacked by the Vikings, carrying the relics of St Petroc to Bodmin.

  22. Turn right and follow the tarmac, keeping right to pass the entrance of "Ewon Arghans" until you reach the signs for "An Gevran" and "The Dumbles".
  23. Bear left down the driveway of "The Dumbles" and keep right along the hedge to the remains of a stile.

    Daffodils were originally called asphodels (lumped together with the other plants that are now called asphodels). A pronunciation variation was "affodell". No-one is quite sure how the initial "d" was added - perhaps "the asphodel" by someone with a cold ("d affodel").

    The natural diet of tits includes seeds and nuts so garden feeders and bird tables are often frequented by members of the tit family. During warmer months they also eat insects, particularly caterpillars. Each blue tit chick is fed around 100 caterpillars per day, much to the delight of gardeners.

  24. Cross what's left of the stile and follow the left hedge to reach a stile in the fence along the bottom of the field.

    The Ramblers Association and National Farmers Union suggest some "dos and don'ts" for walkers which we've collated with some info from the local Countryside Access Team.


    • Stop, look and listen on entering a field. Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves
    • Be prepared for farm animals to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
    • Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves.
    • Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd.
    • Keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead around cows and sheep.
    • Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock.
    • If you and your dog feel threatened, work your way to the field boundary and quietly make your way to safety.
    • Report any dangerous incidents to the Cornwall Council Countryside Access Team - phone 0300 1234 202 for emergencies or for non-emergencies use the iWalk Cornwall app to report a footpath issue (via the menu next to the direction on the directions screen).


    • If you are threatened by cattle, don't hang onto your dog: let it go to allow the dog to run to safety.
    • Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way around the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible.
    • Don't panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow, just walk on quietly.
  25. Cross the stile and follow the path down into the woods to a waymark. Continue following the path downhill (steeply at first, then between the banks) to reach a waymark next to a footbridge.

    In spring there are spectacular displays of bluebells, particularly in the area to your left as you reach the top of a steep bank.

    During periods of cold weather, spring flowers, such as bluebells, have already started the process of growth by preparing leaves and flowers in underground bulbs during summer and autumn. They are then able to grow in the cold of winter, or early spring, by using these resources stored in their bulb. Once they have flowered, the leaves die off and the cycle begins again.

    Other species (such as cow parsley or dandelions) require warm weather before they are able to germinate and grow. With the warmer springs induced by climate change, bluebells lose their "early start" advantage, and can be out-competed.

    Most of a large tree's trunk is actually made of dead wood known as "heartwood". Only the outer layers (known as sapwood) are actually active. The sapwood transport water and minerals up the tree from the roots to the leaves. The sapwood next to the heartwood gradually fills up with resin and then dies to create another strong layer heartwood which supports the increasing weight of the tree.

  26. Cross the two footbridges and continue ahead a short distance to reach a junction with another path. Turn left onto this and follow it until you eventually reach a junction with a path with a granite gatepost, immediately before another junction.

    There are several species of Woodrush in the UK that all look fairly similar. They are most noticeable in woodland where they often form dense mats - hence the name.

    Woodrush has green pointed leaves which can be mistaken for bluebell leaves when there are no flowers to provide an obvious difference (woodrush flowers are unexciting small brown things that look a bit like grass seed). To tell the leaves apart, woodrush leaves taper steadily to a sharp point whereas bluebell leaves are relatively straight for most of their length and only taper near the end (like a broadsword). Bluebell leaves are also slightly blue-green whereas woodrush is a glossy vibrant green.

  27. Turn left and follow the path past the gatepost to reach the driveway from the house.

    Robins are also able to see magnetic fields. Receptors in their eyes make magnetic fields appear as patterns of light or colour which allows them to use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation. They only seem to use their right eye for this as the left half of their brain (linked to the right eye) does the processing.

  28. Bear right onto the drive and follow it to the road.

    Hustyn mill is known to have been operating in the 19th Century and was used to grind corn. A mill pond located not far below the double footbridges fed a leat which ran parallel to the footpath to bring water to the mill.

  29. At the road, turn right, ignoring the public footpath sign ahead, and walk uphill a short distance to the Bishop's Wood sign. Turn left at the sign, follow the path for just under half a mile until it ends at a T-junction.

    Conifers can produce an economic yield of timber up to 6 times faster than broadleaf trees. Imported species such as Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce are amongst the more common used for timber production.

  30. Turn left at the junction and follow the track along the river until it ends in a parking/picnic area near a bridge.

    The River Camel runs for 30 miles from Bodmin Moor to Padstow Bay, making it the longest river in Cornwall after the Tamar.

    The River Camel is classed as a SSSI and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EC Habitats Directive. The river is a breeding ground for otters, Atlantic salmon and bullhead (a small fish that looks a bit like a blenny but is more closely related to lionfish and scorpionfish).

  31. Continue through the car park to reach the lane.

    Polbrock is a small settlement on the River Camel, upstream of Wadebridge. Polbrock is an anglicised version of the Cornish name Polbrough which transliterates to "Badger's pool". It's likely the nearby hamlet of "Brockton" was an Anglo-Saxon rebranding of an original Cornish place-name, possibly something like Trebrough which would be along the lines of "Badger Farm".

  32. Turn left onto the lane over the bridge and follow this until you reach a flight of steps on the left just before the second bridge.

    Badgers are most closely related to otters and weasels, but are omnivores and often catch their food by burrowing after it. Up until the 1950s, somewhat prior to the Gastro-pub revolution, many Westcountry pubs had Badger Ham on the bar!

    Due to their relatively large body size, badgers are susceptible to the same pathogens as domestic livestock, and so badgers and cattle can catch tuberculosis from each other. In recent years, there has been controversy over badger culling as an attempted means to control the spread of bovine TB. The conclusions of the scientific trials of 2007 were that badger culling was not effective. One reason is that culling creates vacant territories and causes other badgers to roam more widely, continuing a spread. In 2010, a TB vaccine was produced which is hoped will prove more effective than culling, as a band of vaccinated badgers will act like a firewall, blocking a spread.

  33. Go down the steps on the left, immediately before the bridge. Turn left onto the Camel Trail and follow it back into Wadebridge.

    The Camel Trail is a recreational walking and cycling track along the track bed of an old railway running from Wenfordbridge to Padstow. The railway, where the Camel Trail now runs, was originally built in 1831 by local landowner, Sir William Molesworth of Pencarrow. The line from Wadebridge to Wenfordbridge, with a branch to Bodmin, was intended to carry sand from the Camel estuary to inland farms for use as fertiliser. Later, the railway was used to ship slate and china clay from inland quarries to ships in Padstow and also transport fish, landed in Padstow, to London and other cities. The last passenger train was in 1967 and freight finally ceased in 1983, when a need to invest in new track forced closure of the line.

  34. At the end of the trail, follow the lane ahead past the John Betjamen Centre to return to the car park beside the Co-op.

    The well-signposted John Betjamen Centre is sited in the main building of the old railway station.

    The John Betjeman Centre is sited in the main building of the old railway station at Wadebridge.

    Betjeman spent the last years of his life in Trebetherick and died there in 1984; his grave is at St Enodoc Church. After his death, a group of local friends and enthusiasts launched an appeal to restore the derelict station building as a memorial to him. There is a memorabilia room dedicated to Sir John, displaying a variety of his personal effects, academic honours and furniture.

    The Poet Laureate had a lifelong love of North Cornwall ever since his first holiday in Trebetherick as a young boy.

    On Wadebridge station what a breath of sea
    Scented the Camel valley Cornish air,
    Soft Cornish rains, and silence after steam
    As out of Derry's stable came the brake
    To drag us up those long familiar hills,
    Past haunted woods and oil lit farms and on
    To far Trebetherick by the sounding sea.
  35. To complete the walk, retrace your steps past the Co-Op and cross the roundabout onto the road opposite (keeping the bank on your left) to return to the long-stay car park near the Camel Trail roundabout.

    Trevanion Culverhouse is just under half a mile along the lane from the co-op car park. If you wish to have a look before finishing the walk (or drive there for a quick look afterwards), follow the road from here to the roundabout by the cinema then turn left onto Trevanion Road. Follow this until you reach The Culvery and turn left into this. Follow The Culvery to the far end with a junction to the right - the culverhouse is at the end of that.

    Trevanion Culverhouse is a dovecote built in the 13-14th Century to supply nearby Trevanion Manor with pigeon meat and eggs. It is now maintained by the Cornwall Heritage Trust. The circular shape was so that a ladder could be attached to a revolving pole in the centre to reach the nest boxes high in the walls (as the birds prefer to nest high up, out of the reach of predators such as foxes).

    More information about the Culverhouse from the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

either as a GPS-guided walk with our app (£2.99) or a PDF (£1.99)

Please recycle your ink cartridges to help prevent plastic fragments being ingested by seabirds. Google "stinkyink" and click on "free recycling" for a freepost label.