Clay trails through iconic landscape
St Austell Business Park sits at the gateway to St Austell amongst The Clay Trails, routes created to open up this iconic landscape to walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
The Clay Trails are a network of short walking, cycling and horseriding trails through mid-Cornwall an area of great contrast and beauty, through unusual mining landscapes, passing a luminous blue lake and several famous Cornish visitor attractions.
Diverse terrains and peaceful landscapes, some of the trails join the beautiful Cornish coast, with picturesque spots to take time out and enjoy the tranquility. Largely traffic-free routes through stunning sections of heathland, woodland, coastline, country lanes and Cornish mining villages, the Clay Trails take in St Austell’s mining heritage.
Winding their way through the unique landscape of Cornwall’s china clay mining area, you’ll get an insight into both the past and present of an industry which has shaped the area since the Industrial Revolution.
China clay or kaolin is still extracted today for use in the paper, ceramics and many other industries. See stunning turquoise dams, coloured by fine particles of mica suspended in the water. Towering clay tips, made up of excavation waste, known collectively as the Cornish Alps. Historical listed buildings such as drying chimneys working china clay pits.
The Clay Trails were first opened in 2005 as part of a restoration programme to provide new habitats for flora and fauna – as well as providing a resource for locals and visitors. Look out for spring flowers along sunken footpaths, wildfowl and plants in Par Nature Reserve, bright yellow gorse, and a variety of beautiful wildflowers. Keep your eyes open for birds of prey such as buzzards, kites and kestrels.
All sorts of things take place along the Clay Trails, including theatre performances and regular walks with local groups, an ideal destination for geocaching and treasure trails.
Look out for sculptures depicting the Clay Industry, reflecting the heritage and modern day elements of the clay industry. Celebrating the rich mining history and the community involvement of the area, these sculptures act as waymarkers indicating the entrance to many of the clay trails.