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Bude Canal Trail

There are currently 4 comments and 2 photos online for this walk.

Bude Canal Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 02 Jul 2012 Walk Rating:star1 Bude Canal Trail Walking Guidestar1 Bude Canal Trail Walking Guidestar1 Bude Canal Trail Walking Guidestar1 Bude Canal Trail Walking Guidestar0 Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide
Cornwall, Bude
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Bude Canal Trail
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide
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0009_light_rain_showers Bude Canal Trail Walking GuideToday's weather
10 °C, Patchy rain nearby, Wind: 15 mph WSW
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0009_light_rain_showers Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide

A 3.5 mile circular and easy walk following the Bude Canal in Cornwall. The walk leaves Bude to head south along the canal towpath before returning along the land alongside the River Neet. The route passes though both the Bude Marshes Local Nature Reserve (with extensive reed beds) and Petherick’s Mill Environmental Area (with many ditches and dykes), making it particularly popular with bird watchers.

The walk is almost entirely flat and follows well made tarmac paths. There are no stiles and just one gate plus a couple of crossings over the A39 which can be quite busy with traffic. Public toilets are available at the car park at the start of the walk. Approximate time 1.5 to 2 hours.

The walk starts from the Bude Tourist Information Centre and Canal Visitor Centre which is on Bencoolen Road, EX23 8LE. There is a large pay and display car park at the centre.

Walk Sections

Tourist Information Centre to Bude Marshes Hide
Tourist Information Centre to Bude Marshes Hide

Start point: 50.8271 lat, -4.546 long
End point: 50.8233 lat, -4.5459 long

To start the walk, stand facing the main entrance to the tourist information centre. Walk to the right of the building and then join the tarmac path with the canal immediately on your right.

Bude Canal, which once ran to Launceston, now only runs a few miles inland. Its original purpose was to take small tub boats of mineral-rich sand from the beaches at Bude and carry them inland for agricultural use on fields.

After just a few hundred yards, keep right on the canal side path, ignoring the fork off to the left. Continue along and you will reach the Bude Marshes bird hide on the left. Take time to enjoy this if you wish.

Bude Marshes was declared a local nature reserve in 1983, the first in Cornwall. The reserve covers an area of 15 acres of mainly reed bed, wet grassland and willow carr. The area is home to a diverse population of wetland birds along with various dragonflies and damselflies and also otters. If you are lucky enough to spot an otter please pop into the tourist information centre and report it to a member of staff so they can display it on the wildlife notice board.

Bude Marshes Hide to Rodds Bridge
Bude Marshes Hide to Rodds Bridge

Start point: 50.8233 lat, -4.5459 long
End point: 50.8152 lat, -4.541 long

When you are ready to continue the walk, simply continue on the canal towpath in the same direction as before. On the left you’ll pass Petherick’s Mill Marsh with a viewing area if you wish to enjoy more views of the local nature reserve. Petherick’s Mill was designed to increase flood storage and the wildlife conservation value of the area as part of the Bude Flood Prevention Scheme.

Continue along the towpath and a while later the path climbs a small slope and passes through a gate to reach a bridge – Rodds Bridge.

Rodds Bridge to A39
Rodds Bridge to A39

Start point: 50.8152 lat, -4.541 long
End point: 50.8053 lat, -4.5347 long

Turn right over the bridge and then turn immediately left to follow the towpath with the canal now on your left. Follow the towpath for some distance, passing by two locks and then a bridge all on your left.

Soon afterwards you will come to a weir marking the point where the canal and the river merge. The weir, which was constructed to manage the water levels of the canal, made it difficult for fish (particularly sea trout) to access the upper reaches of the river and so a ‘fish pass’ was built to aid their journeys.

A short while later you will come to a junction of paths with a wooden bridge to your left. Turn left over the bridge and go up the short incline ahead to reach the main road (A39).

A39 to Water Works
A39 to Water Works

Start point: 50.8053 lat, -4.5347 long
End point: 50.8133 lat, -4.535 long

Cross over the A39 with care as it can be busy with fast moving traffic, and take the path directly opposite. Continue ahead for just a few yards to reach a T-junction with a quiet lane. Turn left here and pass over a pair of stone bridges.

Follow the lane as it swings left between houses and then swings right starting to climb. After just a short distance, pass through the gate on the left to reach the path running immediately alongside the A39. Follow this path until it comes to an end. Cross over the road here using the traffic island in the centre of the road, and continue ahead down the side road opposite.

Follow the quiet tarmac lane as it descends downhill swinging to the right. Follow the lane all the way to the end where you will reach the gated entrance to a water treatment works.

Water Works to River Neet
Water Works to River Neet

Start point: 50.8133 lat, -4.535 long
End point: 50.8238 lat, -4.5435 long

Take the tarmac path to the left of the water treatment works. Follow the path ahead and then go straight ahead at the crossroads with the small lane. Follow the tarmac path for some distance and then continue as it swings left passing a national cycle network sign on the left and a rugby field on the right.

A short distance later, keep right at the fork, signed to Bude. Follow this path for a little while and then continue as the tarmac path swings right up a short slope to reach a quiet road alongside the River Life cafe and bistro. Keep left in front of the cafe and then take the first left to rejoin the tarmac footpath. Continue to reach a bridge over the River Neet.

River Neet to End
River Neet to End

Start point: 50.8238 lat, -4.5435 long
End point: 50.8255 lat, -4.5463 long

This bridge over the river is an old railway bridge. The arrival of the London and South Western Railway in 1898 caused the final demise of the Bude Canal as a commercial enterprise. The siding here went to the canal wharf and harbour area to serve local agricultural and coal merchants and ships which continued to call. The last passenger train on the route ran on 1 October 1966, when the line was closed.

Cross over the River Neet and continue ahead on the tarmac path. The path emerges out to run once again to run alongside the canal. Continue ahead for just a short distance to return to the visitor centre and car park.

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Check out these resources for your walk

hotels Hostel Directory GetMap Rail

network Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

4 Comments for: "Bude Canal Trail"

Did this walk today on my trusted Tramper mobility scooter. Very pretty walk made better by a slight detour to The Weir for lunch and the fact that no need to cross A39 as two underpasses avoid this.

By Jules19 on 02 Jun 2018

Lovely flat walk, good for dogs. Only busy part is also going the A39.

By virtualsteve on 12 Feb 2018

first crossing of A39 can be avoided by following river path under the road

By stevesampson on 05 Sep 2017

Lovely walk. There is a new cycle underpass now.

By Richard on 09 Jul 2012

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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2 Gallery Images for: "Bude Canal Trail"

1070_0Richard1341331947 Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 03 Jul 2012

1070_0Richard1341332427 Bude Canal Trail Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 03 Jul 2012
The main building and forecourt as seen from Bencoolen Road. The Station Master's garden and house are to the right, with the refreshment room, parcels office, booking hall, toilets and staff accommodation situated in the single storey section beyond. On the extreme left are the water tower and larger of the two gasholders.



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