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Today I'm on a Cornish journey across the striking Bodmin Moor.
I'll be using a number of different forms of transport,
including this beautiful horse, also called Ben.
Eventually, we'll be ending up at the Atlantic Ocean.
I'll be zig-zagging my way across Bodmin Moor, spending a night
at the atmospheric Jamaica Inn, before heading for the surfers' paradise of Newquay.
Along the way, I'll be looking back at some of the best
of the BBC's rural programmes from this part of the world.
This is Country Tracks.
Bodmin Moor is a landscape which has not only provided inspiration
to generations of writers, poets and sculptors, but it's also steeped in legend and folklore.
Today I'm lucky enough to be riding with Ted Moore, who runs a riding stable on the moor.
Ted, you don't sound like you're from these parts originally?
No, that's true.
I've lived in Cornwall now for 21 years, but I was born
-in Hong Kong of Scottish parents, and grew up in Scotland.
-That's very exotic.
I don't know!
How long have you been riding out on the moor?
Well, since we came here, 21 years ago.
What a fantastic place to come out.
There is no better riding country in the world.
Do you find it varies every day according to the weather?
Yes. People have often said to me "Do you get blase with the beauty all the time?"
And I say no, because it's constantly changing.
You get dull days and sunny days...
-And windy days like today!
-Windy days, yeah!
And you obviously see all the wild ponies who are out here as well.
Yes, there are quite a number.
You sometimes see them very often.
Other times, days go by and you never see one, because they've
got the whole moor to go at, and there's about 40,000 acres of that.
How amazing. If you've seen the wild ponies, I have to ask whether you've ever seen the Beast of Bodmin?
-You're laughing now.
Well, it's...it's a good tourist attraction.
It's a bit like the Loch Ness monster.
I'd like to think it's here.
Well, maybe it is. I'm keeping an open mind.
I've never seen it, and I've never spoken to anybody who has.
Ted might not believe in the Beast, but many around here that do,
as John Craven found out back in 2005.
It's a bitterly cold, crisp day here on top of Bodmin Moor,
and you can see all the way down to the coast.
But when this place is shrouded with mist, it can feel very sinister,
and the locals believe that strange creatures are lurking here.
Tales of the Beast of Bodmin date back right to the 17th century.
So, is it all a historical myth?
New video footage of what is claimed to be the so-called Beast of Bodmin has been released this morning.
The pictures of the black 3½ foot long animal
form part of a dossier of dozens of sightings to be
submitted to the Government for examination by experts.
Since then, there have been many more claims of sightings
and encounters, and a lot of people really believe that there is a beast at large on this moor.
But of course, stories about beasts in remote areas aren't just confined to Cornwall.
These modern-day beasts are believed by many to be what
are known as exotic felines, animals like leopards, pumas and panthers.
But if these exotic creatures are roaming around British countryside,
how did they get here in the first place?
These cats arrived in Britain in several different waves.
I think some of the very earliest ones were from Victorian times,
when they had travelling menageries. Certainly, big cats escaped from those. We have it on record.
Secondly, the Dangerous Wild Animals Act in the mid '70s
made it illegal to keep dangerous animals.
You had to pay a very big licence fee and prove you could keep them safely.
A lot of people just let them go.
Thirdly, the Zoos Act didn't come into force until the early '80s.
Before then, any Tom, Dick or Harry could start their own zoo. You didn't need to know anything about animals.
You just needed to have a big backyard and a lot of money.
Over the years, there have been lots of stories here in St Neot about a beast out on the moor.
But ten years ago, there was a sighting which sparked off an official inquiry.
I've seen 'em.
And...there's a black leopard, and there's the puma.
That's a browner animal.
What sort of damage did they do to your livestock?
Well, he killed several calves,
and about 14 sheep, we lost.
But for how long do you think an animal like a puma could survive on Bodmin Moor?
He could survive forever.
There's 1,000 acres of trees.
Behind me, there's 250 acres of trees here, and beyond that,
there's several hundred acres of the National Forestry people.
Was any action taken by the Government?
They sent a chappie down to do a survey.
Now, what's the point of sending a chap down in a pinstripe suit, smelling of aftershave,
looking for a wild animal with a nose on it, with such a terrific nose on it,
could smell a man 150, 200 yards away?
The official government inquiry said that none of
the evidence it had heard supported the presence of a big cat on the moor.
So, inconclusive, really.
But if there is anything out here, it could be dangerous.
All cats kill very clinically, very cleanly.
I lost a lamb in a field below us.
And it was eaten...it was obviously grabbed around the neck.
There was very little blood on the fleece.
There was none on the ground.
And the tongue was eaten, and just down a little bit into the chest, and the rest of it was left.
Mostly, it's an attack direct to the neck, breaking the neck,
and then very cleanly dissecting it and eating the bits they want.
A friend who's got horses has seen a lynx, and described it beautifully.
From our landing window across there, we saw a large,
black cat walking along the top of this hedge bank here.
It doesn't worry me at all. I'm quite sure that they're very timid.
They take the odd animal, the odd lamb, perhaps the odd calf.
But apart from that, we don't have a great problem at all.
I know of one that was shot.
And that farmer's kept quiet, and I don't blame him.
The last sighting in this area was lodged on the Big Cat Society website three months ago.
But if these creatures were released into the wild many years ago, you'd expect them to be dead by now.
So how come there are still sightings?
Cats seem to suffer less from inbreeding than other animals,
for reasons that aren't really understood yet.
Cats can withstand inbreeding quite well.
So from a very small nucleus, a larger population could blossom.
But the official Government inquiry back in 1995 said
that cross-breeding of big cats would not occur in the countryside.
Now there have been demands for a fresh inquiry, but Whitehall says
it's got no new evidence to suggest the situation would have changed.
If DEFRA reopened the investigation, I'd like the conclusion to be
that they can prove that big cats exist in Britain,
that there might be a breeding population, not really to scare the public,
but just tell the public the truth that they are there,
and they are not dealing with the Loch Ness monster.
Since that report was made in 2005, DEFRA have ceased all inquiries into the presence of a beast on the moor.
Among the locals, of course, the debate rages on.
But there's much more to see than beasts on Bodmin Moor.
So Ted, obviously there's a huge man-made impact on the moor as well.
I can see lots of mines around.
Yes, that's true.
Copper mines, tin mines.
Arsenic was mined here, and in a few paces, gold.
Really? And you've still got the old relics of the mines left?
Chimneys seem to be the thing that survived most.
You can see them sticking up everywhere.
Most of the deep shaft mining in this area sprang up in
the late 1830s, but the boom ground to a halt after only 60 years.
During that time, over 600,000 tonnes of copper alone was extracted from mines on Bodmin Moor.
But there are signs of human activity that go back much, much further.
Now, what are all these extraordinary stones that we're riding through now?
They're known as the Hurlers, and the local legend is that
some people were playing hurling on the Sabbath, and as a punishment were turned into stone.
If you think about it, this is utter nonsense, because they reckon they're
Bronze Age, which makes them about 3,500 years old, long before there was such a thing as the Sabbath.
It's a nice story, though, isn't it?
The moor is littered with relics of the past, both man-made and natural.
It's something the locals live alongside every day.
But not many have anything quite as spectacular as Adam Henson found in one back garden.
Well, this may look like an ordinary house, but it isn't.
Hidden beneath the back garden is a geological marvel that tells
the tale of around 500 million years of history.
What attracted you to this house, then?
We saw it for sale in one of the glossy property magazines that
you browse through when you're bored,
and it looked so beautiful, a house with a beautiful green, wooded valley around it.
-And there was a surprise?
-There was. We came down to view the house,
-and got the surprise of our lives, literally.
-Can I have a look?
Certainly. This way.
The property appealed to Caroline and her husband because of its forest setting,
but they didn't bargain for the former quarry that came with it.
The building used to house steam engines that transported slate from the mine.
Now they look out at the moss-covered rock face every day.
What a remarkable thing to having your back garden.
Not bad for a water feature, is it?
-Tell me about it.
-This is part of the old quarry face.
They were open cast quarrying the rock out of the valley here for many years.
But this represents about 500 million years' worth of geology.
It started off as mud on the ocean floor all those years ago,
and was metamorphosed into slate about 300 million years ago.
-What an amazing thing to find.
-Not bad! You ain't seen nothing yet!
Here we are, Adam. Welcome to Carnglaze Caverns.
-Right, hats on.
-So what happened here?
-This is where they were mining the rock out
from underground until about 100 years ago.
In the 19th century, this would have been a hive of activity,
alive with the sounds of drills and the blasting of gunpowder.
So this is where they got the slate out.
How many miners would have worked down here?
In teams of 4 or 5, there would have been perhaps 20 teams,
or in later days anything like three or four teams, perhaps.
What was life like for the slate miners, do you think?
It was a pretty long, hard working day and a jolly difficult way of life.
But an altogether better life than for tin or copper miners.
That was a much more dangerous environment,
Here, it's a very stable rock.
You've got plenty of wide open space, and it's ten degrees all year.
It's very peaceful, so I don't think anything too awful could have happened here.
Used by the Navy to store its precious rum supplies in the Second World War,
now it's open to the public six days a week.
For some, it's the site of a particularly special event.
What happens here now?
We are just going to be very still and quiet for a minute and listen.
-Wow, look at that!
-This is where we get married.
People get married on the platform here with the lake as a backdrop.
Well, I've yet to get married, so maybe this could be the romantic spot for me.
So what else happens in this stunning space?
Well, one thing you might not expect.
With its beautiful acoustic and awe-inspiring height,
the cave provides a perfect venue for concerts.
Pop, jazz and classical groups play here regularly,
a fitting use for this natural cathedral hidden inside the rock.
Reluctantly, I've left my horse, Ben, behind, and I'm hiking
the next leg from the Minions to my rest stop for the night, Jamaica Inn.
As well as legends of ferocious beasts, Bodmin Moor has other sinister associations - smugglers.
It was this 18th century coaching inn halfway between Launceston and Bodmin
which inspired Daphne du Maurier to pen her chilling epic, Jamaica Inn.
This is where I'll be spending the night.
But Daphne du Maurier didn't just write about Jamaica Inn.
She took inspiration from all over Cornwall, as Charlotte Smith found out in 2006.
The Cornish landscape, from cosy fishing ports
to craggy coastline and bleak moorland.
It's inspired generations of writers,
but one woman's name
has become synonymous with this county.
Her tales of smuggling and shipwrecks, murder and intrigue have fascinated millions of readers.
This is Daphne du Maurier country.
Daphne was born in 1907, the daughter of the celebrated actor Gerald du Maurier.
By her own account, she spent her childhood in a world of make-believe,
but it was Cornwall which turned this imaginative child into a writer.
The family lived in London, but took regular holidays here in Cornwall
and in 1926, bought a holiday home here in the town of Fowey.
That house was Ferryside, which is the cream and blue building just over there.
Daphne du Maurier's son, Kits Browning, now lives in the house, which was her first Cornish home.
Why do think it was that Cornwall was such a draw for your mother?
-She grew up in London.
They'd come as young kids on family holidays, but it wasn't until
the late '20s that they actually were looking for a holiday home,
because her father had just done a very successful play in London,
so they had some spare readies to buy.
She just wanted to leave Hampstead and get down here, because she longed and craved for independence.
You can't imagine the books without Cornwall, can you?
It's always been said that places meant more to her than people.
I think that's very true. Most of her books, certainly the Cornish books, it is the landscape
that has influenced her and fired off this very fertile imagination she had.
We're here in Fowey, and this place too, was inspirational for your mother.
Absolutely. This was really the inspiration for all her work.
It started with The Loving Spirit. She was walking one day up Pont Creek,
and came across this old ruined schooner, and saw this figurehead,
which was the figurehead of the Jane Slade.
She fell in love with this figurehead. That inspired her to write.
"This was herself, this was she fulfilling her dream,
"placed there on the bows of the vessel which bore her name.
"She forgot everything but that her moment had come,
"the moment when she would become part of a ship, part of the sea forever".
Away from the cosy cottages of Fowey, there is a much harsher side to Cornwall,
and here, halfway between Bodmin and Launceston,
is the setting for one of du Maurier's darkest novels, Jamaica Inn.
"Ahead of her on the crest and to the left was some sort of building
"standing back from the road.
"She could see tall chimneys, murky, dim in the darkness.
"There was no other house, no other cottage.
"If this was Jamaica, it stood alone in glory, four-square to the winds".
The inn was built in 1750,
and was built as one of a series of inns
across the moor and down to Falmouth.
The reason for the building of the inn was to service the new turnpike,
the new road which was then being constructed across what was then a very wild, inhospitable moor.
In the book, this place is all tied up with wreckers and smugglers.
Is there any evidence that that's actually how Jamaica Inn was?
Nobody left the ledgers behind for study. Obviously it was a very clandestine business, smuggling.
People often say to me, "Why on earth would anybody
"be interested in Jamaica Inn, so remote from the coast, to have anything to do with smuggling?"
It's precisely for that reason that they used Jamaica Inn.
So do you think the stories she wrote were based in some way on fact?
Absolutely. This was obviously Daphne du Maurier's brilliance, that she would move into an area,
learn all the local legends, learn of the local families, and weave a story
so close to the truth that people would believe it was actually true.
I've come just a few miles from the moor to the village of Altarnun.
Don't be deceived by the picture-postcard prettiness of this place.
It provided the inspiration for one of du Maurier's most sinister characters, the vicar of Altarnun.
He's the anti-hero, if you like, of the book Jamaica Inn,
and he hides a secret that surely no visitor will guess.
"Mary looked at him, her hands gripping the sides of the chair.
"'I don't understand you, Mr Davey.'
"'Why yes, you understand me very well.
"'You know by now that I killed the landlord of Jamaica Inn, and his wife too.
"'Nor would the pedlar have lived, had I known of his existence.
"'You know it was I who directed every move made by your uncle and that he was leader in name alone'".
Daphne du Maurier's most famous book is, of course, Rebecca.
It's a dark tale about secrets, and it concerns the rather gauche second wife of Max de Winter,
who's haunted by the memories and influence of his first wife, Rebecca.
Its setting is unmistakably the countryside around Menabilly,
the house that Daphne du Maurier called home.
And it has one of the most famous opening sentences in literature.
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
"It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive,
"and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me.
"There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate.
"I called in my dream to the lodgekeeper and had no answer,
"and peering closer through the rusty spokes of the gate, I saw that the lodge was uninhabited."
In the book, this cottage here on Polridmouth Bay, acts as Rebecca's refuge.
But it's also where she meets her untimely death.
"'The woman buried in the crypt is not Rebecca', he said.
"'It's the body of some unknown woman, unclaimed, belonging nowhere.
"'There never was an accident.
"'Rebecca was not drowned at all.
"'I killed her. I shot Rebecca in the cottage in the cove.'"
The great thing about reading a du Maurier book when you're actually here in Cornwall
is that you feel truly immersed in the story.
This is Frenchman's Creek and I was up most of last night finishing it.
It's all about a pirate who hides his boat in the small creeks off the River Helford.
And honestly, this could be Frenchman's Creek.
"It was darker here in the creek than it had been in the open river.
"And the trees threw long shadows down to the quay.
"There was a radiance in the deepening sky belonging only
"to those nights of midsummer, brief and lovely,
"that whisper for a moment in time and go forever."
Much of the inspiration for her writing continued to come from her Cornish surroundings.
Du Maurier remained in the county until her death in 1989.
When she came here, she found it was the most wonderful place to walk.
To be alone. She loved being alone.
And later in life, she really enjoyed her walks
when she was at Menabilly and then even at the end at Kilmarth.
The walking, swimming, all this sort of thing,
was really the most important thing to her.
"There was a smell in the air of tar and rope and rusted chain.
"A smell of tidal water.
"Down harbour, around the point, was open sea.
"Here was a freedom I desired, long-sought for, not yet known.
"Freedom to write, to walk, to wander.
"Freedom to climb hills, to be alone."
A new day, and time to move on from Jamaica Inn.
I'm heading five miles south-west to a place called Tremoreland.
Bodmin Moor may look uncultivated and untamed, but this vast expanse
of apparent wilderness was first farmed more than 4,000 years ago.
Making a living on this harsh landscape's never been easy.
And farming has had to be inventive.
20 years ago, we followed some farmers as they tried to introduce a very unusual herd indeed.
In 1986, mohair was all the rage.
Britain was the world's leading processor of this natural fibre, which comes from Angora goats.
The goats are not native to this country.
So, during the boom in demand, some farmers on Bodmin Moor invested heavily in importing the breed.
But, by 1989, the bottom had fallen out of the market.
Bodmin Moor isn't the easiest place to farm.
It had been an uphill struggle for Mike Dickinson.
In 1986, he was looking for something to give a positive boost to his income.
Everyone was talking about Angora goats.
The media was giving them massive and uncritical publicity.
So he borrowed £35,000 to buy some.
And lost the lot.
I'd seen the programme on the Farming Programme about goats in New Zealand.
We managed to get my sister-in-law to video this for us.
And we hired a video from the local butcher, of all things,
to show the bank manager when he came.
6,000 guineas, you have a bid in here.
6,200. Now 5. 6,500...
In 1986, the big news was the astronomic prices paid at this sale.
Just too late. I'm sorry, sir. 6,500.
The received wisdom then was that Angora goats were just like sheep, only more profitable.
The reality was different.
Certain parts of them need more attention.
The feet need more attention.
But generally, they're an easy animal to handle.
You can go out with a bucket and call them,
they'll come instead of having to go and round them up most of the time.
They do need more housing than sheep would need.
Obviously, they've got to have some form of shelter, particularly in the wet.
It's the wet they can't stand.
They seem to be able to stand the cold fairly well.
Anyone who knows anything about Angora goats in Britain has heard of Marianna Rosenberg.
An unlikely farmer, perhaps, but this well-connected lady first gained respect as a sheep breeder.
Then, one day, she saw an Angora goat and the rest, as they say, is history.
It started as a hobby and frankly, I can afford to not sell goats if I don't want to.
I brought my goats in 1981 and sat here with them.
No-one even came to see them for a couple of years.
And then somehow, a phone call came, did I have any for sale?
And I didn't, really, and didn't want to.
But the price and the offers kept going up and up.
And eventually I realised that everybody wanted Angora goats.
New Zealand farmers have a reputation for spotting a good thing.
Hugh Fullerton-Smith farms on Bodmin Moor.
But in 1986, he went home to New Zealand in search of new ideas.
The goat industry was really boiling, it was amazing. People were busy importing goats from Australia
and the farmers saw a very, very serious future in mohair production.
The thing looked very, very solid.
For Pancho, as he's known, importing, breeding and exporting
deer have now replaced goats as his main farming enterprise.
But he was one of the first to bring Angoras into this country
and he helped establish the market for breeding stock.
I didn't really intend to, at that point, come back with a lot of Angora goats.
I was more interested to see whether I thought it would play a place over here, in England.
Particularly in Cornwall, where I lived.
Pancho found all sorts of people were interested in buying his Angora goats,
including farmers like his neighbour, Mike Dickinson.
Predominantly, they were smallholders,
you know, who liked the idea of what we were trying to achieve.
There were some very serious farmers on board as well,
but they weren't prepared to pay big money for a lot of animals.
They were prepared to pay quite big money for a few.
So quite a cross section, really.
What sort of big money? What was big money in '86?
Big money in '86 was probably £5,000 for a female, from Australasia.
And maybe the same for a buck.
In 1986, the British Angora Goat Society had a sale.
-Why was it unforgettable?
Well, the prices made every newspaper.
They were ridiculous, in that they were just over the limit for everything.
-What sort of prices?
-5, 6, £7,000 for a buck.
I believe I sold one of mine for £6,500. 3, 4, £5,000 for does.
I have to admit, it was a very successful day for me, because I was one of the major vendors.
I had most of the goats at that time.
But we all knew that it was a bubble that would burst.
I mean, anyone who thought it was going to continue like that was foolish.
I took a very big risk at the beginning as well.
You know, you imagine the cost of pulling 50 goats out of Tasmania.
Although it was a three-way cost with two other colleagues.
Flying the goats to England, you know, we took our risks as well.
We made decisions on the spur of the moment.
The people that purchased stock from us did exactly the same.
20 years have passed since that film was made.
But today, I've caught up with the man who brought Angora goats
to Bodmin Moor, all the way from Tasmania,
So Hugh, how do you feel now, looking back on that period?
Well, they were really exciting times. And you know, as I say, it's quite a ride, really.
There was a huge buzz on this place, you know, for a moorland farm.
Things were really happening.
And people had to make their own decisions.
I don't have a huge conscience about people going into the business
of farming Angora goats to produce mohair.
It was their decision. They had to decide whether to jump in.
Of course, it was one of those businesses where you had to decide whether to jump out.
It was soon obvious that the climate here in Britain wasn't really conducive
to producing quality mohair.
The climate being the wet weather you have down here?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, these goats originated from Turkey.
And, you know, the climate that's there.
Underfoot, as well. Wet ground all the time on a goat's foot isn't the best thing.
So it was quite a challenge, quite a management challenge.
And you were also tied into the fashion world and what people wanted and what they didn't.
I imagine the market fell out of mohair jumpers and mohair jackets?
Yeah. It's all cyclical, isn't it? Whether it's cashmere, mohair, round it goes, and it just happens
to be, at the time you come into these things, how long it's going to be sustained, really.
You know, for a place like Bodmin Moor to be on the map as
a producer of quality mohair was quite a thing at the time.
So once that bottom fell out of the market, was there a trail of destruction across the country,
of farmers that had lost out?
Well, certainly people lost out on it. Because they were in the main quite wealthy farmers,
I'd suggest, who were quite prepared to step outside of a regular cheque
in the form of a subsidy, and take a risk for the first time, really.
Because, if you think about it, sheep and beef have been groaning on for years, and this was brand new.
And we were being encouraged by banks, by government, to diversify.
So you'd had, for you, a successful experiment with Angora goats. How did you go on from there?
What form of diversification did you go into?
Well, you're right there, because we had the taste for it!
We thought, right, here we go!
And we did a lot with deer, importing deer from Europe.
But wild boar really caught my eye. I thought, "I've got to find something
"that's really tangible, people can eat,
"that the price isn't going to go away, that you can promote all its
"high health virtues and things."
So we imported a herd from Sweden,
38 wild boar came in and we built that up to 300 sows.
They're notoriously difficult creatures to keep in?
They are. We had to get a dangerous wild animals licence.
And can you imagine the local Cornish council having to wrestle with this?
You know, a zoo on Bodmin Moor!
But it worked.
The beauty of pigs, of course, is they have a lot of piglets!
And we were getting up to eight per sow,
which is quite good for wild boar.
All here? So this is 300 wild boar all racing around in these fields?
Exactly, yeah. We had to keep them all in family groups.
You couldn't afford for the boars to mix up, there'd be huge squalling, fighting and things.
But we got good at the job and put Bodmin on the map again, yeah.
And for three or four years, it went really well
but unfortunately, the whole thing was undone by foot and mouth.
This is one of the problems of farming.
You just never know when something's going to drop on you from a great height.
Just like BSE or mad cow disease, foot and mouth was just a terrible thing.
So where now? Where do you live, what do you do now?
Well, I actually manage an estate called Alladale up in the Scottish Highlands.
Last year we imported some European elk
and the elk are nice to be able to explain to children
what used to be there after the last Ice Age.
It's a really exciting project.
So you've been responsible for bringing in Angora goats, wild boar, and now elk.
-What next? What is there left?!
-There's nothing left in my cabinet!
-I think so, yes!
So far, I have travelled from the tin mines and standing stones of the Minions
to my rest stop at Jamaica Inn, then on to Tremoreland.
Continuing my journey, I'm leaving the moor and heading to the Atlantic coastline.
It's a long way, so I've taken to four wheels.
Along the way I'm going to be passing the Camel Estuary.
A few years ago, Adam Henson explored it on a bicycle.
The Camel Trail's got nothing to do with camels.
It's a 17-mile cycle route that runs alongside the River Camel.
And I'm taking the part that runs from Bodmin down to the coastal town of Padstow.
This stretch gently winds its way down through the woods, past the old Dunmere platform near Bodmin.
Like the railway, there is a start to the trail up near Bodmin Moor at Wenfordbridge.
It then weaves its way down past the estuary at Wadebridge
before heading out to the coast and finishing up in Padstow.
It's a smooth ride, taking advantage of the early railway engineering
which avoided steep inclines and turns.
There are remnants of this route's steam heritage all the way down the line.
I stopped off at Boscarne junction which is the one platform on the Camel Trail in working order.
Steam trains run tourists from the original Camel Trail here
into the town of Bodmin on a later branch line.
Keith, the railway's run through here for quite some time now?
Yes, since 1834.
There was a problem getting sea sand and seaweed up to the farms,
which they used to act as manure
so as to sweeten the acidic soils or the peaty soils up on the moors.
Here we were way out on a limb,
but the need to get the fertiliser up to the farms was so important,
and also to bring down the minerals and the granite from the mines further up.
And at the same time, it was also found that
passenger traffic played an important part of the railway,
especially on days when they were hanging people at the local jail.
And it was such a popular event that on one occasion, in 1840, when there was two brothers being hung,
they had to lay on three extra trains
with a total of 1,100 people going there!
It was the big event of the day!
-It sounds horrendous!
-Well, it was.
When did it close down?
The railway closed down to passenger traffic in 1967 and to freight traffic in 1978.
Then the Wendford drives, they still kept the play going until 1983.
That's when the whole lot came to a grinding halt.
And the cycle path that I've been riding along was the original line? What is this one here?
This is the line which is run by the Bodmin and Mountford Railway.
This is the railway which took on the old Great Western trail, which came down from Bodmin Parkway.
-And it stops at the end here?
-It stops here, yes, unfortunately.
But having said that, we are now trying to build an extension
which will take the railway back down to Wadebridge where it belongs.
The idea of re-establishing the tracks to run alongside the current path is a serious proposal.
However, the original track bed has long since been converted to into the Camel Trail.
To the benefit of cyclists like Bob Oakes.
-It's a very popular ride, Bob, isn't it?
-Yes, there's loads of people use the trail.
Almost half a million a year, Adam.
Goodness me! And I see some walkers as well, all sorts of people?
Yeah. It's a multi-use trail, so there are people walking with their dogs and their babies.
There are people going fishing, people looking at nature,
and there's quite a lot of local history along the trail as well. So lots of things to do.
-The great thing about this bit, it's all downhill to Padstow, isn't it?
I mean, the thing that people who don't ride bikes often are looking for
is no traffic and no hills.
And this trail's got both of those things.
-And it links up to a national trail?
-Yes. The National Cycle Network
has 10,000 miles throughout the whole of the country
and in Cornwall, there are 250 miles of route.
So when people have ridden on the Camel Trail,
we hope that they'll have a go at some of these other routes
within Cornwall or nearer to their own homes.
At the abandoned Grogley Halt, you can see where embankments
were gouged out by labourers over 170 years ago,
bringing steam trains to this part of Cornwall, way before they appeared in London.
Now, it's returned to quieter times.
Perfect for local photographer Adrian Langdon.
The River Camel here is a really peaceful spot.
Wonderful for photography.
Yeah, it's super. And we've got so many distinct habitats
the whole length of the trail.
We start at the coast and then we come up,
we've got the estuary and then up through here, the wooded valleys,
and they wend their way all the way up onto the edge of Bodmin Moor.
So flora and fauna, totally different as you go along the trail.
What sort of things are you looking to photograph?
Well, the ultimate would be otter. I've photographed them a few times,
but they haven't necessarily read the text books!
So they don't always turn up where and when you think it is!
A lot of wildlife is like that.
Kingfishers are another favourite.
The whole Camel Valley is a Site Of Special Scientific Interest.
Sounds like a photographer's dream!
Yeah. Yeah, I may be biased, because I'm born and bred here,
so I love it. I love the area.
And years ago, it would have been a very busy, noisy railway?
Yeah. I used to go to school on a train from Wadebridge to Bodmin every day.
And very sad to see it closed down.
It was one of the cuts from Dr Beeching
and a lot of my family had to move away to get employment when the railways closed.
But it has certainly taken on a new lease of life now.
This part of the Cornish countryside has been inspiring people for years.
Sir John Betjeman holidayed here by train as a child,
an experience he recounted in his autobiography.
"On Wadebridge station, what a breath of sea scented the Camel Valley.
"Cornish air, soft Cornish rains and silence after steam."
Wadebridge train station is now the John Betjeman Centre.
In 1899, the track was laid from here to Padstow, connecting it to London.
And then carrying thousands of holidaymakers to the small fishing town.
This train line used to cut right through the centre of Wadebridge,
but now it's a road.
The only place you meet cars along the trail.
It's also where people go to hire bikes.
Hi there, Adam. How are you doing?
Yeah, that was a good ride.
Good ride up river? Lovely that,
the riverside is beautiful, you know, but the contrast to the estuary.
-Going to do a bit more now?
-How long have you been running this?
About 25 years now. Started off with half-a-dozen bikes, about 400 now.
I'm going to head to Padstow, so I need something with a bit more pizzazz.
-Something with a bit of style. What have you got?
-The choice is yours, really!
Got 400 bikes, choice is yours!
But maybe try Easy Rider, or a Cruiser?
-Let's try that Easy Rider.
-Looks a bit different!
-OK. The trick of it is, lean back into the seat
and head to Padstow!
All right! Thanks a lot! See ya!
This Easy Rider's pretty comfortable!
Lying back and soaking in the scenery.
It's great here, heading towards Padstow, lovely views of the day.
Fantastic way to spend the day!
Particularly with a family and young kids.
There's loads of people out enjoying this path.
Imagine what it must have been like for the holidaymakers, travelling along this same route,
but by train, steaming over this old wrought-iron bridge.
The Atlantic Coast Express, which ran from Waterloo to Padstow,
made its final journey in January, 1967.
Padstow station is now a car park, jammed with holiday hordes
scrambling for gourmet fish and chips.
But it's still great to see that this trail,
which was blazed by steam,
is now used by so many on foot and by bike.
Well, Padstow harbour's the end of the line for me.
It's been a great day along the cycle path.
Time now for some fish and chips!
I've now left Bodmin Moor behind
and driven on to the Atlantic coast at Newquay.
It was at the beginning of the 20th century
that Newquay burst on to the tourist map
and became a popular holiday destination,
thanks to its golden sands, cream teas and sunshine.
But the Swinging Sixties brought a new type of visitor, surfers.
Newquay is now considered Britain's surf capital.
And Juliet Morris came here a few summers ago to catch some waves.
Every summer, surfers from around the world descend on Fistral Beach
in Newquay for the annual Boardmasters Surf Festival.
Whether to compete or simply watch the professionals,
people here prepare themselves for one long surf party.
But for the serious competitors, there's a lot at stake.
Aside from the £17,000 prize money,
the event forms part of the World Qualifying Series, or WQS,
an international qualifying tour.
It's the highest level of competitive surfing in the UK.
One of the biggest events on the WQS world tour.
This tour feeds the premiership within surfing.
12 elite events with the top 40 in the world.
What the competitors here are trying to do is score points
and obviously, the prize money, to qualify for this tour.
Once you're on that, you know, it's the elite of surfing.
-It's a fantastic beach, Fistral, but is it a world-class surf beach?
For competitive surfing, you need a really consistent beach break.
We've got a surf from eight in the morning till six in the afternoon. We have 192 men here and 60 women.
So for the seven-day contest, we need to use almost every hour of every day to surf.
We need a beach to surf right through the tidal range. Looks good for this week.
People here are crazy about surfing. They love it.
It's one of the biggest festivals we've got in the surfing world.
If you do really well here, it sets you up really well
for the rest of the leg and in the end, the rest of the tour.
Everyone's fighting for top spots.
There's a lot of hungry guys out there!
But to be in with the chance, the surfers will have to pull off the right moves to impress the judges.
And it's not just about style, there's a very precise art to picking the right wave.
Well, we'd hope for a ground swell, what we call a storm-out
in the Atlantic, to create a swell coming towards the beach.
And then an offshore wind would make the waves bigger
and it would give them what we call a wall,
which is an open face on the wave for surfers to perform and do big turns.
The surfers themselves are quite astute at picking the waves they think will offer the best manoeuvres.
But they've got to push their surfing ability so they beat their competitors.
One of the UK's most successful surfers to date is Russell Winter,
the first European to qualify for the prestigious World Tour.
So whereabouts are you in terms of world ranking?
At the moment I'm 55 on the World Qualifying Tour.
There's about 200 guys on that tour, 200 or 300 people.
And we're all trying to get into the top 16.
Surfing's got a very cool, laid-back image.
Is it that cool and laid back when you're out there competing?
No, it's incredibly competitive.
There's a lot of psyching people out,
a lot of arguments, a lot of pushing and shoving and stuff in the water.
And people are fighting to get to the top and when you get to the top,
there's a lot of money involved,
like anything, you've got to fight hard to get there.
Often you think about countries like Australia, Hawaii,
as being far superior to what we've got here.
The whole Cornwall coast has got excellent waves around it.
And also, you know, up in Scotland and Newcastle, Ireland,
there are actually world-class waves.
And in time, there's going to be a lot more British surfers on the tour.
Jayce Robinson has been surfing on Cornwall's beaches since the age of nine.
And he's being seen as a future star of the British surf scene.
And you must be one of the youngest, taking part in this competition?
Yeah, I think so.
I probably am the youngest, yeah. I've just turned 18.
You're still in the juniors, most of these people are in the seniors, aren't they?
They've all been doing it for ages. They've got the experience and everything. I'm learning!
You're tipped as one of this country's brightest hopefuls.
Does that put responsibility on you?
Do you get nervous about that?
I am starting to, actually. I'm starting to feel the pressure.
And there's younger guys coming up
and beating me. They shouldn't be, really, but I'm just starting to feel the pressure.
I need to relax a bit, I need to chill out.
Back out on the water, the heats are well under way
and a team of commentators is keeping a close eye on things.
But to those of us that don't surf, understanding what they're actually saying isn't always easy.
Snap, off the lip, carve, cut back...
they're really all the different manoeuvres that the surfers are doing.
There's also the corrupt flip.
The corrupt flip is a stalefish mute grab alley-oop.
So you've got the mute grab across your board, the stale fish grab,
your back hand through your back legs, grabbing the other rail,
and then an alley-oop is an opposite 360 aerial.
This, unfortunately, means very much to someone like me who can't even stand up on a board!
Classic! All right,
currently out on the water, this is heat number nine in a round of 144...
Surfing's really what you want it to be. A sport, a lifestyle, a culture.
Surfing's just a lot of fun.
Since the 1960s, Newquay has generally been thought of as Britain's surf capital,
thanks to the powerful Atlantic swell that hits its coastline.
But a proposal for an artificial reef in the bay, first put forward by a group of local surfers in 2001,
could have made surfing in Newquay even better, according to local surf shop owner, Andy Reid.
So can you just explain exactly how the artificial reef works?
At the moment, we've got a wave that comes straight into the beach.
It comes and breaks over in one go.
It's beautiful, but it doesn't actually do anything.
The energy is just spent all in one hit.
When you put a reef in the water, you're making it break
in a way which suits surfers. So it breaks continually down the side of the reef, creating a rolling wave.
And how exactly do you create this artificial reef?
Well, when we put the reef in the water,
we use something like a big Hessian bag which is shaped to suit the reef template.
And we pump it full of sand, so we gradually build it up into the shape of a computer-designed reef.
Of course, perfect waves would be a magnet for surfers.
But they could also boost Newquay's flagging economy.
We'd benefit massively from several angles.
One, you're creating a world-class stadium, almost, for our surfing industry.
So it's a showpiece.
Secondly, you're going to have a lot more money spent on the town
to create nice apartments overlooking the bay,
watching this perfect wave break all the time.
And then when the wave's not breaking, you've got an artificial reef with kelp beds,
a rabbit warren of different avenues
where people can go and explore snorkelling in a safe environment,
which is covered by life guards.
So it's just...it's a wonderland for people who want to play in the sea.
Some have estimated that up to £60 million would be generated by an artificial reef.
But plans ground to a halt in 2005 after opposition from members of the local community.
You've got the sailing club, the ordinary boatmen, young rowers,
novices, and a lot of pleasure craft who use the bay,
especially when the wind's south or south-easterly.
And the big thing of all, nobody can make any guarantees of sand movement
on the inside edge of it, with the swell that we get here.
There's a large number of people who argue
the artificial reef would have brought in a huge amount of income
from the extra surfers visiting the area. What do you think of that?
Oh, the predictions I hear reading the papers, 60 odd million
is the surfing contribution to the economy in Cornwall,
but where they get some of their figures from, I don't know.
I know plenty of surfers, and I know plenty of surfers who think the reef
would not maintain the amount of income that they're talking about.
So, for the last four years, Newquay's plans for a perfect wave have remained dead in the water.
But later this year, an artificial reef is due to be completed in Bournemouth.
If successful, it could have a devastating effect on Newquay.
If you think about it, everywhere below the M4 is virtually within two hours of Bournemouth.
So any surfer, especially from London, from Brighton, from Reading,
is going to be able to pop down to the reef for a day.
They would normally come to Newquay to buy all their kit, because you've got a massive selection of kit here.
But they've got new shops in Bournemouth, right on the beach, within two hours of where they live.
So they're going to go down, surf on the reef.
Maybe there's no surf there, but while they're there,
they're going to buy the surf boards, wet suits,
so on that angle, we're going to lose out on retail.
And because they've gone to the beach and had a good surf,
that's one weekend they're not going to come to Newquay.
So with Bournemouth committed to opening an artificial reef,
is it time for the people of Newquay to think again?
I can't believe that we aren't the first people in Europe to have a reef.
We had the best location, we had everything in place, and it's just such a shame
that we lost the opportunity to be the first and the best.
Do you worry that Newquay will be left deserted of surfers?
There's no way that Bournemouth will get anything of the quality of surfing
that you can get facing the Atlantic. No way.
I mean, sometimes when it's 10ft, only the experienced stay behind.
The rest come in the bay, they cannot handle it, it's so big.
And there is no way that Bournemouth is going to compete with Newquay when it comes to surfing.
I've been visiting these parts ever since I was a young boy.
And on this journey from Bodmin Moor down to the Atlantic coast here in Newquay,
I've revisited some of Cornwall's rich heritage, from its literature to its mythical beasts.
But what I've also discovered is that if Cornwall wants to keep attracting people like me,
they can't just look at the past, they also have to keep one eye on the future.
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