‘Fell’ running fun in Cornwall: Roughtor and Brown Willy, Bodmin Moor. Walk or Run.

Brown Willy Downs looking up at the south side of Brown Willy tor.

Brown Willy Downs looking up at the south side of Brown Willy tor.

There aren’t many mountains in the South West of England but Brown Willy and Roughtor are about as close as you can get without leaving Cornwall.

Brown Willy view towards Colliford Lake.

Brown Willy and the view towards Colliford Lake.

Windswept barren bog and grassland, inter-spaced with hard granite tors, a challenging environment for a run or walk; but also surprisingly a place of real beauty and of contrast. No wonder this landscape has inspired authors and poets for centuries. The most famous of which has to be Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier. Anyone who has read this book will be able to experience the menacing foul mood of the moor in bad weather described in the book. Wet, muddy, dark. But also when the sun comes out from behind the mizzle; a landscape of colour. Reds, creams, and browns against a dazzling blue sky.

If you want to explore Bodmin Moor OS map 109 is a must. If you know the moors at all then you might want to consider the waterprooof version!

Sun, blue sky and vivid colours over the moors.

Sun, blue sky and vivid colours over the moors.

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Spotlight on Bodmin Moor: Following the Liskeard Caradon Railway across the open moors.

Spotlight on Bodmin Moor: Following the Liskeard Caradon Railway across the open moors.

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Image showing the distinctive stone block sleepers lining the old moorland railway route. Stowe’s Hill and the Cheesewring are ahead and Sharptor is on the far right horizon.

The thought of running an abandoned rail line across the wild moors of Cornwall seems too good an opportunity to miss. This is why the remains of the Liskeard Caradon Railway are a must for any trail runner visiting the area. The railway was built to service the local metal mines and granite quarries in the 19th century during the height of the industrial revolution. The mines are now long gone and the wild moor has once again reclaimed the wilderness. However if you look closely you can still trace the scar of the old railway across the moor. Stone sleepers once holding the rails in place now line the route like headstones.

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