In Your Element - Womens Running Magazine

Trail breaks

Read Time:   |  July 16, 2015


Dartmoor, Devon

This iconic National Park encompasses 954 square kilometres of moorland in Devon. The beautifully wild landscape is dominated by boulder-topped hills and divided by streams, rivers and reservoirs. Of the two hundred stone-capped hills known as ‘tors’, the biggest is High Willhays at 621m, so this is not flat, easy terrain by any means. Some of the best places to run are The Templer Way and Haytor. Because it can be boggy and misty, Dartmoor isn’t a good place for beginners to venture without a guide if the weather isn’t playing ball; but seasoned trail runners will love the views and the challenge of the wilderness. If in doubt, run with a guide or a running group (, or join a race such as the 10K Haytor Heller on 18 July.
EVENTS & COACHING Top trail runner Ceri Rees ( offers one-to-one and group coaching in trail running, as well as one-day and weekend running tours of Dartmoor and running camp holidays. He is also hosting a Trail Running Festival in Dartmoor from 18 to 20 September.
REST & REFUEl The Oratory in Princetown ( and Yellowmeade ( on the edge of the moor by Princetown are both good B&Bs.



Peak District, Derbyshire

This wild and wonderful National Park is split into the moorland area of Dark Park in the north and the limestone area of White Peak to the south. The romantically rugged land is divided into a wide range of terrain to suit all levels, including the tough climbs of Dark Peak and the less challenging paths of White Peak.

EVENTS & COACHING Top trail runner Dave Taylor ( offers day and weekend courses in trail and fell running and off-road navigation, for all abilities. Dave will coach trail and hill running know-how, good technique, nutrition, kit tips and safety skills. Learn to interpret map features, take and use compass bearings and understand grid references. Beginners are welcome, but must be able to run 10K.
REST & REFUEL Crown Cottage ( is a B&B in Eyam, in the heart of the Peak District, with four rooms and tasty breakfasts.

South West Coast Path, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall & Dorset

This gorgeous 1,014km seaside path is a fabulous trail. It soars up onto rugged clifftops and meanders down to secluded sandy coves and river mouths – this continuous ascent and descent alongside the big blue makes the SWCP one of the prettiest and most taxing of runs. If you do it all, you will have climbed the height of Everest four times! There are endless beautiful stretches, including the Jurassic coastline of South Devon where dramatic red cliffs jut out into the ocean and encase sandy beaches, and the picturesque Roseland Peninsula of southern Cornwall with its pretty villages and
un-spoilt coves.

EVENTS & GROUP RUNS The Roseland August Trail Series ( is a fabulous set of coastal races held in Cornwall every year. This year’s event on 15 August will include 11, 20, 32 and 64-mile routes. If you take a running holiday in Cornwall and fancy joining a running group, contact Mud Crew ( to join one of their regular social trail runs.
REST & REFUEL Pebbles B&B ( near Budleigh Salterton in Devon, is right on the beach, so you can fall asleep to the sound of the waves.

Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, WalesPembrokeshire_VisitPembrokeshire

This gorgeous coastal path and National Trail runs for 186 miles past 56 beaches, dramatic cliffs and pretty villages. Some of the best sections to run are the stretches between St Govan’s and Stack Rocks (three miles), Trefin to Abermawr (a fairly flat six miles) and Broad Haven to Newgale (an undulating six miles that passes two great beaches).

EVENTS The three-stage Pembrokeshire Coast Challenge held in October is gruelling but beautiful (, set over 78.6 miles. There are shorter races held every year in May.
REST & REFUEL St Govan’s Country Inn ( offers B&B accommodation and great food at Bosherston, St Govan’s, and Old Cartlett House (, 01348 837476) offers B&B just five miles from the coast at Aberfelin beach, Trefin.

Lake District, Cumbria

The majestic Cumbrian mountains loom over a series of lakes and tarns in this gorgeous iconic National Park. There are endless towering peaks for hardened runners to scale, as well as lower, less taxing hills, such as the 451m Catbells, and lakeside runs, such as Ullswater. Why not get a boat from Glenridding to Howtown and run the seven miles back?

EVENTS & COACHING There are umpteen great races held in the Lakes every year, such as the Ennerdale Trail Run in October ( You can also join weekend courses to learn fell running and navigation skills ( and
REST & REFUEL The Langstrath Country Inn ( hotel in secluded Borrowdale is a great place for runners to stay.

Cairngorms, Scotland

The most extensive range of high mountains in the UK and Britain’s biggest National Park, this is not to be missed. The stunning, vast landscape in the Scottish Highlands is punctuated by valleys, lochs and pine forests, where wildlife abounds. Some of the top places to run are Loch Muick, Rothiemurchus and Lairig Ghru.

COACHING Hone your trail running skills on the Balmoral Estate (, where guided runs, coaching and accommodation are offered to all levels of runner.
REST & REFUEl Culdearn House ( is a lovely hotel in Speyside in the Cairngorm National Park and Cragganmore House ( offers B&B accommodation in a secluded glen on the edge of the Cairngorms.

Algarve, Portugal

The gorgeous Algarve is trail paradise, if you like running in the heat and along sandy beaches. Embrace Sports run very good running holidays in the Lagos area. During the next organised week (3-10 October), runners of all abilities will be guided along coastal tracks, beaches and woodland trails of the Algarve by the Embrace Sports team. As well as doing two led trail runs per day (of between five and 30K), holiday runners will be guided in good running technique. Food and accommodation are provided and you will have free time to explore the area. 209 Events ( are also hosting running holidays in the Algarve during September.

 Petra, Jordan

If running in the warmth, over soft sand is your thing, you will love this five-day running tour organised by 209 Events. Held in the stunning desert region of Jordan, holiday goers will take part in the challenging Petra Desert Marathon, which starts in the mesmerising ancient city of Petra and covers mountainous terrain, as well as desert plains. The holiday will also include a half marathon, a swim in the Dead Sea, entry to historic Petra and other tours, social events and accommodation. This is a trail adventure of a lifetime.