Off-road running routes - Women's Running Magazine

Off-road running routes

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  November 20, 2015

Here in Britain, we’re completely spoiled by our natural landscape. With 15 National Parks, bringing us endless stretches of majestic mountains, lakes, meadows and moorland, Britain really is one of the most picturesque places on earth to enjoy the great outdoors. However, with so much on offer, it can be hard to know where to start exploring! To help you out, we’ve collated five fantastic running routes, spanning some of England and Scotland’s most-loved National Parks and Trails. As the weather turns colder, venturing into the countryside to explore the trails really is the perfect way to spend a Sunday – particularly when followed up in the local pub, where an open fire and Sunday roast awaits…

Cotswold Way National Trail – Cotswold Way Circular: Stanton, Snowshill and the Edge

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Photography: Damian Hall

Distance: 6 miles

The route: The 102-mile Cotswold Way National Trail covers Chipping, Camden, Gloucestershire, Bath and Somerset. The route follows the edge of the Cotswold escarpment, offering the region’s finest scenery, classic Cotswold villages, hill forts and ancient beech woodlands. For a moderate six-mile route along the Way, hop on the trail at Stanton, starting at the Cotswold Way signpost towards the top of the village. Follow the signs for Snowshill and explore this gorgeous little village, before heading back towards Stanton. The route starts with a steady climb along the Way, before venturing into the National Trust wood, emerging into Snowshill. The return journey passes back through the National Trust and back onto the Way, ending at the starting point. For full route details and to download the map, click here.

Where to stop: The route starts and ends at The Mount Inn – a stunning country pub offering craft ale and locally-sourced food.

The Lake District, Cumbria – Stanley Force Waterfall

Distance: 4.1 miles

The route: Wonder at the incredible Stanley Force waterfall as you follow this relaxing four-mile route through picture-perfect woodland. Starting and finishing in Ravenglass, the route passes pretty stone bridges and magnificent riverbanks. It starts at Dalesgarth Station car park, crossing the River Esk onto a rough track, before venturing through the woods at Stanley Ghyll. The route crosses various bridges and streams, following a route back through Eskdale. For full route details visit: www.walkscene.co.uk

Where to stop: The starting and finishing point, the Ravenglass railway station, is the perfect place to refuel with a coffee and piece of cake from The Turntable Café’s dedicated bakery.

South Loch Ness Trail, Iverness, Scotland

Lookout over Loch Ness, Scotland

Distance: 28 miles

The route: This lengthy 28-mile route is a tough challenge, but can be taken on in sections over the course of a long weekend if preferred. The elevated route begins at Loch Tarff and provides exceptional views of Loch Ness as you pass through Torbreck on the edge of Inverness via Whitebridge, Foyers, Inverfarigaig and Dores. The route begins with a steep ascent, before dropping down through woodland, following minor roads to Whitebridge. From Whitebridge, it roughly follows the line of the old Wade road to the village of Foyers. The trail then goes up several hundred feet again and over to the hamlet of Inverfarigaig, before following the Corkscrew road to a high point on forest track 1300ft above Loch Ness. You’ll then descend into the village of Dores, before following woodland path into Torbreck, on the edge of Inverness. For full route details visit www.visitinvernesslochness.com

Where to stop: Towards the end of the route, you pass through the village of Dores, home to the famous pub, The Dores Inn, situated on the shores of the Loch. A cosy pub, with a warming open fire, it’s the perfect place to stop off, warm up and refuel.

The Peak District, Edale Circuit

Distance: 10.1 miles

The route: A challenging, undulating route, the Edale Circuit takes in stunning views of the beautiful Peak District. The route begins in the picturesque village of Edale at the Old Nags Head pub, passing through Grinds Brook on a well-paced route. The route includes many tough ascents, including the rocks of Fox Holes, the slopes of Rushop Edge and a paved ascent to Mam Tor. The last few miles are more forgiving with a short descent down the ridge east of Mam Tor, back into the village of Edale. To see the full route visit: www.peakdistrictonline.co.uk

Where to stop: Edale is home to two fantastic pubs, the Old Nags Head and The Rambler Inn – both offering fresh, hearty home-cooked meals.

The Lake District, Cumbria, – Wray Castle to Blelham Tarn

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Distance: 3.5 miles

The route: A shorter route, suitable for runners of all abilities, this picturesque route from Wray Castle to Blelham Tarn takes in stunning views of Lake Windermere. The route offers mixed terrain across meadows, moorland and towpaths. Starting in Ambleside, you’ll take in the magnificent architecture of the castle and the mysterious broken Iron Age sword. To see the full route details visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Where to stop: There’s plenty of pubs in the town centre of Windermere, but we suggest packing a picnic for this walk. During the route, you’ll see Latterbarrow, an impressive green hill that offers panoramic views over the surrounding area. On a fine day, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a picnic.

By Jennifer Bozon. With thanks to Damian Hall.

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