The River Camel

The River Camel, or ‘Crooked River’ in Cornish (Dowr Kammel), is a river in North Cornwall, originating at Bodmin Moor and entering the sea at Padstow Bay. It is a heavily protected river, being designated both an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and being home to no less than four Sites of Special Scientific Interest and two Nature Reserves.

The River Camel’s otter population, one of the reasons for the river’s SAC designation, is the main stronghold in Southwest England and after the UK otter decline of the 1950s to 1980s, it served as a re-colonisation hub for other parts of England.

The Camel Estuary is an excellent bird watching site, due to its extensive salt marshes. Ospreys and peregrine falcons can often be spotted, as well as mute swans and, in the Hawkes Wood Nature Reserve near Wadebridge, tawny owls. In addition, the Camel Estuary was one of the first sites in England to be colonised by little egrets and these impressive herons can be seen in large numbers today. The estuary is also a sea bass conservation area.

In terms of recreation, the River Camel is a popular kayaking site and the Camel Trail is famous for its beautiful walking and cycling routes.