Unforgettable runs at the places we look after

Writers and running experts Jen and Sim Benson, pictured running near Rhossili beach on the Gower peninsular, worked with our rangers to design the trails

Our rangers have designed 10 invigorating trail runs through spellbinding landscapes. Run along rugged coastal headlands and listen to the sea smashing against the rocks below.

Find your rhythm along sun-dappled paths through ancient forests, discover mysterious ruins, and feel the wind on your face as you run across open moors met by endless sky.

Experts from our recommended outdoor retail partner Cotswold Outdoor and our rangers share their thoughts on what makes running at the places we look after so special.

From the breezy summit of Dorset’s Golden Cap to the ghostly remains of the copper mines nestled among the peaks of Snowdonia, our trail runs will take you to some unforgettable locations.

Take a break from pollution, long lines of noisy traffic and pounding the tarmac. In fact the only thing that will stop you in your tracks will be incredible wildlife and jaw-dropping scenery.

Plan your trail run today    

Buzzards can be spotted circling Dorset's Golden Cap

Get close to wildlife

There’s a lot more to trail running than how fast you run or how far you go. We offer long and short trails to give runners of all abilities the chance to get close to wildlife and explore incredible landscapes. Roisin Black, the ranger for the Yorkshire Dales, says: 'There's always something new to see as the seasons change – migrating birds in spring and wildflowers in summer.' Looking at birds, butterflies and plants while out running can also motivate you to keep going says Roisin. 'I love the simplicity of trail running', adds Dan Marston, the manager of the Cotswold Outdoor store in Ambleside. 'I love the freedom running gives you. It’s just me and the ground. I don’t even listen to music. I just listen to the birds and the sound of my own feet.'

Ashley Lennon, the supervisor at the Cotswold Outdoor store in Guilford, loves exploring the countryside surrounding Polesden Lacey in Surrey. 'The North Downs and the Surrey Hills are full of endless amounts of history and beautiful landscapes. 

'Surrey has everything from the wooded chalk slopes of the North Downs, to the beautiful and wildlife-rich heathland on the Greensand Ridge.'

Running is also a great way to keep fit, combat stress and boost your mood. 'Running keeps me sane. It’s time alone to get rid of the stresses of the day and think over problems', adds Dan.

Summit Dorset's Golden Cap and enjoy magical views of the Jurassic Coast

What makes our runs so special

Our rangers carry out painstaking work to protect wildlife and look after the landscape, and visiting trail runners support them in doing this. Tree planting projects and controlled grazing means that Malham Tarn and Fountains Fell in Yorkshire are full of life. The support we get from runners often goes beyond the money they spend at our places. Roisin says: 'If people love spending time in a beautiful place they generally want to take care of it. I know many runners who pick up rubbish as they go, which is a very simple way to help with conservation. Many runners volunteer with us because they want to learn more about the landscape they run in and play a role in protecting it for future generations.'

Pick your trail run

An aerial view of Blickling Estate today
Running

Blickling Estate, Norfolk 

With its red-brick mansion, ancient yew hedges, magnificent gardens and acres of historic parkland, Blickling Estate is a magical place to run. This varied and undulating loop will take you alongside glittering lakes and quiet woods, where barn owls can be spotted flying silently between the trees. Find your rhythm along sun dappled paths, enjoy the cool shade provided by towering trees, and admire gardens vibrant with colour as you start your cool down.

The view of the Mewstone from the top of Coleton Fishacre garden
Running

Coleton Fishacre, Devon 

Starting off in Coleton Fishacre’s exotic garden, which is framed by cliffs and full of colourful flowers during summer, this run packs a punch before your feet have even left the ground. In no time you’ll find yourself running along coastal paths listening to the sea smashing against the jagged rock faces below. Other highlights include the aquamarine waters of Pudcombe Cove and Froward Point – a second world war gun emplacement with incredible views over the craggy slopes of Mewstone, where seals can sometimes be spotted basking on the rocks.

The Giant's chair at Craflwyn, overlooking Dinas Emrys and Mynydd Sygun in Snowdonia
Running

Craflwyn, Gwynedd 

There are not many runs that will take you through territory fought over by dragons. Steeped in the magic of myth and legend, this rugged landscape will not fail to capture your imagination. Follow this circular trail through the rich green slopes of the Nant Gwynant valley, along the lower slopes of Snowdon, and past the ghostly remains of old copper mines. Run past waterfalls falling down craggy rock faces and listen to the roar of tumbling streams.

A view you will see on this route.
Running

Fountains Fell, Yorkshire 

Fill your lungs with fresh air as you run along open spaces met by endless sky. Stop to admire the glittering glacial lake at Malham Tarn. We have planted trees and plants, which add to the area’s rugged beauty and attract wildlife. Follow the Pennine Way up across vast moorland and onto Fountains Fell, which boasts spectacular views of the Three Peaks and Ribblesdale.

Looking out over fields on the Golden Cap estate
Running

Golden Cap, Dorset 

This figure-of-eight loop will get your heart pumping. Pass through hay meadows, follow coastal paths with enticing views of the sea and summit the Golden Cap – an impressive shoulder of rock, which is the highest point on the south coast. The beauty of the surrounding estate is largely thanks to our rangers, who work tirelessly to protect wildlife, harvest seeds from the meadows and plant flowers. Look out for buzzards and kestrels scanning the hedgerows and peregrine falcons coasting high above the clifftops.

The Longshaw Estate, near Wooden Pole, Derbyshire, in October.
Running

Longshaw, Derbyshire 

Nestled among the hills and valleys of the Peak District, Longshaw is a paradise for trail runners. Every inch of this magical landscape has been cared for by our rangers. Feel your heart pounding as you run across open moors and discover the beauty of ancient woods. Cross a hay meadow threaded with wild flowers and catch your breath at the Bronze Age funerary cairn in the estate’s Sheffield Plantation. Look out for curlews, skylarks and pied flycatchers.

A beautiful view down a hillslope. Autumnal trees can be seen.
Running

Polesden Lacey, Surrey 

Free yourself from the hustle and bustle of the city and run wild across historic parkland. Listen to your feet pounding the ground as you run through peaceful woods. Look out over acres of chalk grassland as you emerge from the trees. On a warm day you may see butterflies fluttering over the heads of wildflowers.

Running across the beach at Rhossili, Gower
Running

Rhossili, Gower 

This invigorating 10km trail will take you along stretches of golden beach and rugged headland overlooking silver sea. You’ll also see a a colourful patchwork of fields, testament to our traditional farming methods. We sew wildlife-friendly crops and create hay meadows. This means our farmland is buzzing with life and full of flowers. Take off your trainers when you’re on Rhossili beach so you can feel the sand between your toes.

Cliffs bathed in golden early morning sunlight with Souter Lighthouse in the distance
Running

Souter Lighthouse, Tyne and Wear 

Discover how wildlife now dominates a landscape once known for its coal mining industry. Starting at the striking red and white tower of the Souter Lighthouse, this short but enjoyable run takes in a full lap of the Whitburn Coastal Park nature reserve, once full of pitheads, and now home to a colony of sand martins. Look out for wildflowers and enjoy the sea air.

A reflective Tarn Hows at sunrise, Lake District
Running

Tarn Hows, Cumbria 

Warm up for this scenic circular run in the peaceful surroundings of Yew Tarn – a sparkling lake overlooked by towering trees. Follow the trail along the Cumbria Way, which cuts through the heart of the Lake District, and will lead you on to the lower slopes of Tom Heights. Towards the end you’ll be rewarded with refreshing waterfalls.