What are the best trails to run in the UK?
If you live in the UK and have a burgeoning interest in trail running, then the good news is that you really are spoilt for choice. There is a fantastic range of trail-running routes for runners of every ability as well as plenty of UK running events you can enter. In this guide, we’re going to shine a light on what we think are some of the best UK trail-running routes and take a look at a few competitive running events along the way.
1. Great Langdale, Lake District
Great Langdale in the Lake District is a runner’s paradise, with some awe-inspiring peaks to gaze up at as you scurry along the network of lower-level trails. If you’re looking for some healthy competition, the Langdale Horseshoe fell race, held in October every year, is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque of all the UK running events. However, if you prefer to run at your own pace, the 6.5-mile Loughrigg Fell, which starts and finishes in the Rydal Water car park, is a beautiful route for runners of every ability. This moderately difficult trail provides breathtaking views and gives runners the opportunity to refuel at the Sticklebarn Pub.
2. Cotswold Way National Trail
The Cotswold Way National Trail is an entire network of running routes that stretches 102 miles, all the way from Chipping Campden in Worcestershire to Bath in Somerset. Along the way, it offers up some of the UK’s finest scenery, ranging from classic Cotswold villages to Iron Age hill forts and ancient beech woodland. Perhaps the best part of the stretch for hill runners is the northern end of the trail, where higher climbs offer panoramic views. However, the entire stretch is excellent trail-running fodder, with its moderate difficulty and location making it accessible for runners of every ability.
3. Cader Idris Mountain Race
If you’re serious about roaming wild on a free-range trail, then the Cader Idris Mountain Race could be for you. This is one of the most difficult UK running events, starting and finishing in the Welsh town of Dolgellau, in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. This is certainly not a route for beginners, with the 10.5-mile trail taking seasoned trail runners up the 3,000-foot climb to the summit of Cader Idris mountain. You then turn around and come straight back down again, only to be greeted by the cheering and beer-swilling crowds that await. Entrants should have experience of running in the mountains and be confident enough to deal with all types of weather conditions.
4. North Downs Way National Trail
Runners living in London who are fed up with pounding the pavements can find some of the best UK trail running routes just a short train ride away. The North Down Way National Trail stretches 123 miles from Farnham in Surrey eastwards to Dover in Kent. This wonderfully varied and tranquil trail might not offer much in the way of elevation, but the diverse scenery of the chalky North Downs more than makes up for it. You can scamper through beech and oak woodlands, across springy downland, and take in unspoilt views of the garden of England. If it’s elevation you’re looking for, the stretch from Box Hill to Reigate Hill has plenty to keep you entertained, while the trail from Detling to Lenham, in Kent, is arguably the most scenic.
5. Jurassic Coast and the South West Coast Path
If your perfect trail run includes plenty of ascending and descending, then the South West Coast Path, and more specifically, the 96-mile stretch that takes you along the Jurassic Coast from Dorset through to East Devon, is certainly one for you. This is not a route for the faint of heart or the weak of knee, as the hill climbs can be brutal. However, if you’re an experienced and fit trail runner, this well-maintained coastal path cannot be missed. As you’d expect from a route so close to the coast, there are plenty of pubs, cafés and ice cream shops, so you can stop for a well-deserved rest along the way.
Feeling competitive? Then sign up for the Jurassic Trail and you can turn a 5-km, 10-km or 21-km stretch of this coastal path into a race.
With you every step of the way
If you’re taking on one of the UK’s best trail running routes, then you need running shoes, clothes and equipment that can support you every step of the way. Take a look at the premium range of men’s and women’s trail running shoes , running clothes and accessories at ASICS and buy online today.