Bodmin is a charming old Cornish country town, set in the heart of beautiful Cornish countryside. Its streets are lined with fine brown stone and granite-faced buildings.
The history of this ancient market town dates back way before the Celtic and Roman periods. During the Middle Ages it was Cornwall's largest town and in the 19th century it became the county's capital. This mantle has long since passed to Truro, where the county offices now reside.
The town is blessed with many fine neoclassical buildings, including the law courts and the Old Gaol (now a museum). The Assize Hall and Shire Hall (shown above), date from 1837. The town's Turret Clock marks the site of an ancient Butter Market.
Parish Church of St Petroc © TAB
The 15th-c parish church, dedicated to the county's patron saint 'Petroc', is one of the largest in Cornwall. A 12th-c Moorish ivory reliquary (located in the south wall), is thought to have once contained the relics of St Petroc, who founded a monastery here in 550. There is also a fine late-Norman font and some fine slate memorials in the church. The Church originally had a spire but this was destroyed by a lightning strike in 1699.
The area was once renowned for its holy wells, said to be particularly good for eye complaints. One well, St Curon's, stands outside St Petroc's Church, where an inscription extols the it's healing powers.
A 144 ft (44 metre) high obelisk, located on a hill to the southwest, was erected in 1856 to memory of Sir Waiter Raleigh Gilbert.
The town lies on the steep southwest edge of Bodmin Moor and is an ideal touring base for the area. The local rivers, Camel and Fowey, provide excellent fishing.
Bodmin Visitor Information Centre is based in the Shire Hall, where you can get brochures, leaflets and a town map.
There are several interesting places to visit within easy walking distance of the town:
Between 1785 and 1909 Bodmin's old county gaol was the scene of more than 50 public executions. During the First World War a number of national treasures, including the Domesday Book and the Crown Jewels, were held here for safe keeping.
Former barracks of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. It is now a museum to the regiment's history.
Location: The Keep, Bodmin, Cornwall PL31 1EG - Tel: 01208 72810
The Bodmin and Wadebrldge, railway opened in 1834, one of the earliest in Britain. The line operates steam trains along a thirteen mile trip through beautiful Cornish countryside.
Special event trains run throughout the season.
Free to visit, and filled with exhibits and treasures from the town's historic past.
This former Assize Courts is now a popular art gallery with regular changing exhibits by local artists. Visitors can act as a juror in the award winning 'Courtroom Experience', depicting a gruesome Victorian murder trial.
Bodmin Moor: Good walking country, including an invigorating climb to the top of Brown Willy, Cornwall's highest point at 420m. Read more about Bodmin Moor...
Lanhydrock House: A National Trust property to the south-east, which retains its original 17th-c gatehouse and north wing.
Pencarrow House: A Georgian mansion full of 18th-c treasures and an impressive Italian garden.