Best Trail Running Spots in the UK
Written By: SportsShoes
It’s not only about taking yourself up against challenging and technical terrain – trail running also stands for adventure and exploring remote, beautiful landscapes. Thankfully, you don’t even need to travel far to find these beautiful landscapes either, with the breadth of the UK littered with picturesque runs that challenge you first, and reward you with views, second.
Here’s our run down of some of the best trail running spots the UK has to offer.
Loch Ness, Inverness
Home of the beautiful Loch Ness road marathon, the heather clad moorlands surrounding the mysterious waters of Loch Ness are also the location of some fabulous off road running trails. Trails run both sides of the stunning loch with spectacular views across the water and a mixture of trail and forestry tracks that are suitable for all abilities.
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
Easily accessible from Holyrood Palace, the trails surrounding the rocky summit of Arthur’s Seat offer stunning panoramic views of the city. Take the strenuous direct route up to the summit or a longer, more gentle approach through the surrounding hills and trails.
Arran Coastal Way, Isle of Arran
Described as “Scotland in miniature” this stunning 65 mile stretch around the beautiful Isle of Arran can be run in sections and offers a mixture of beaches, forest trails and rolling hills – all falling alongside a variety of wildlife and breath-taking scenery.
Derwent Water, Lake District
The tranquil waters and surrounding fells of Derwent Water offer some of the UK’s best and most accessible running trails. From easy flat trails along the shore that weave through woodland and offer panoramic views across the lake, to more challenging climbs into the surrounding fells, that offer spectacular Lakeland vistas at any time of the year, Derwent Water has a trail suitable for all runners.
Forest of Bowland, Lancashire
A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and once described as the Switzerland of England, this vast heather moorland wilderness offers challenging, remote terrain that makes it great for trail and fell runners alike.
Hadrian’s Wall Path
This challenging coast to coast route following the World Heritage listed Hadrian’s Wall is steeped in history and passes through Roman settlements and forts, as well as some of England’s most beautiful scenery. Spanning 84 miles in total, this route represents an epic coast to coast challenge for hardcore runners, but there are plenty of circular section trails to enjoy if you’re not up for running the whole thing.
Northumberland Coastal Path
This stunning coastal path runs the entire stretch of Northumberland’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Encompassing sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and ancient ruins, this beautiful trail can be broken into 6 manageable sections of between 6 and 13 miles.
James Herriot Way, Yorkshire Dales National Park
This 52 mile circular route begins and ends in the Dales village of Aysgarth in the heart of Wensleydale. It takes in some of the most stunning Yorkshire Dales scenery from wildflower meadows and waterfalls, all the way to high open fells and vast heather moorland. Of course, this makes it a mecca for novice and experienced trail runners alike.
The Howgills, Yorkshire Dales National Park
Still relatively untouched by tourism, this lesser known network of trails running through the vast sweeping wilderness of the Howgills make for an exhilarating solitary trail run – you’re unlikely to set eyes on another person while you run.
Castleton, Peak District National Park
A network of trails running from this pretty Peak District village offer stunning views across the Hope and Edale valleys. Make sure to incorporate the formidable Mam Tor into your route for a steep, challenging climb and technical ridge section. Again, rewarding you with dramatic panoramic views whilst you catch your breath.
Clent Hills, Worcestershire
With mile upon mile of peaceful, easily accessible trails, the Clent Hills offer tranquil and beautiful far-reaching views over the Cotswolds, Shropshire Hills and Welsh borders with undulating trails for runners of all abilities.
Rhossili and South Gower Coast
From long sandy beaches to cliff top stretches and stunning views of the Peninsula, this beautiful stretch of headland and its network of defined, well maintained trails, makes for an exhilarating trail run that is certain to keep you coming back for more.
Cwm Idwal, Gwynned, Snowdonia National Park
Set within Wales’ oldest nature reserve, the National Trust trail circumnavigating the beautiful waters of Cwm Idwal offers a short but challenging trail run in a stunning mountain landscape.
Bodmin Moor, Cornwall
The bleak expanse of Bodmin Moor encompasses stunning trails across remote heather clad moorlands. Alternatively, you can also explore 650 acres of prolific running trails and forestry tracks at the scenic Cardinham Woods.
Beachy Head, Sussex
This stunning stretch of headland situated at the end of the South Downs Way takes in the iconic white chalk cliffs at Beachy Head, spectacular coastal scenery, and sweeping grassy trails with a network of demanding yet rewarding trails. A must if you live anywhere close to the south coast!
Hopefully that’s more than enough running routes to keep you occupied for a while, however if you’re in search of something further afield, check out our round up of the best trailing running spots from around the world!