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Runner on forest trail
Photo credit: Neil Denham

13 forest running trails you need to complete

All runners are welcome in the forest. We’ve made a list of 13 forest running trails that are designed for beginners as well as seasoned pros. With varying grades, you can select the difficulty level to suit your ability. 

1. Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire

Distance: 0.9k

Challenges: Flat terrain

New to running? Try out this relaxing beginner trail that takes you on a flat loop around the Westonbirt Down landscape. Improve your health and your mindset, whilst taking in the stunning Arboretum scenery. Motivation to exercise has never been easier to find.

Westonbirt Runners
Running on a dog friendly trail

2. Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire

Distance: 1k

Challenges: Easy trail for beginners

If you’re taking up trail running this year, then the Wendover 1k running route is a great place to start. It’s on a flat and wide forest road where you’ll run 500m and turn around to complete 1k. The views? Amazing. Prepare to pass the much-loved Wendover viewpoint looking out on to Halton Camp and Weston Turnville Reservoir.

3. Mallards Pike, Forest of Dean

Distance: 2k

Challenges: Mixed terrain

Do you enjoy running on level and surfaced tracks? If so, this is the trail for you. Follow the forest road, waymarked in grey, through the lovely greenery. You can expect a peaceful route that will return on the Mallards Family Cycle Trail link path.

Mallards Pike Lake
Photo credit: Stephanie Johns
Trail runners in the forest

4. Alice Holt, Surrey

Distance: 3k

Challenges: Varied terrain

This trail will be running through your mind all day. Go from forest roads, to bumpy trails, to muddy pathways. There’s nothing more exciting and challenging than this type of run. Follow the yellow markers with the black arrow and expect the unexpected.

5. Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent

Distance: 3k

Challenges: Mixture of gentle downhills and short inclines

From sole to soul. Hit the ground running and increase the time you spend outdoors. You’ll be surprised how much a trail like this can benefit your wellbeing.  Follow the turquoise markers for a stunning running route, where you can expect to see impressive conifers and tranquil lakes.

Running in the forest
Fraser Allen
Running trainers on forest floor

6. Haldon Forest Park, Devon

Distance: 5k

Challenges: Steep gradients

Feeling low? Reach new heights with this hilly running route, straight through the most peaceful and picturesque forest location. You get to run through a butterfly conservation area, a mesmerising tree tunnel, and you’ll even run past Haldon’s breath-taking viewpoint.

7. Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire

Distance: 5k

Challenges: Beginner level

Ready, set, go… to one of the most enjoyable running trails in this list. Newbies to the sport will love this relaxed and easy trail. With a combination of forest road and surfaced trails, the flat terrain is an opportunity to train up. The biggest challenge here is you… can you beat your personal best?

Woodland with large trees covered in green leaves
Runner on forest road in Stainburn Forest
Photo credit: Jenny Hill

8. Delamere, Northwich

Distance: 5k

Challenges: Stone paths and uneven terrain.

You can look forward to an undulating route that's great for both beginners and regular runners. Keep your eyes open for wildlife surrounding Blakemere Moss, as this is a great place to spot exciting species.

9. Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire

Distance: 5k

Challenges: Beginner level

Follow the turquoise markers to run down an enjoyable winding path and admire mighty forest trees. If you’re lucky, you may even encounter some of Sherwood’s native wildlife. This is a running experience unlike any other… the views alone are enough to make you question why you ever exercised indoors.

Running on forest trail
Getty Images
Runners on downhill slope off path in the forest

10. Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

Distance: 10k

Challenges: Mixed terrain and steady climb to viewpoint

This is a safe, off-road, traffic-free trail that will really get your heart racing. There’s nothing a healthy dose of fresh air and stunning forest views can’t fix. Run through a magical tree tunnel on this route while admiring the North York Moors National Park and Langdale. Guaranteed to fuel the body and the mind.

11. Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria

Distance: 10k

Challenges: Mountain ascent

This running track will take your breath away… quite literally. What can you expect? Challenging and steep inclines – perfect for the sports junkie seeking a challenge. The view of the Lake District National Park and Grizedale Pike are added bonuses. Follow the pink waymarkers or pick up a map from the Visitor Centre. 

View across Whinlatter forest, mountains in the background and conifers in the foreground
Photo credit: Steve Blake
Two men running through the woods on a trail

12. Cannock Chase Forest, Staffordshire

Distance: 10k

Challenges: Long and challenging climb with uneven terrain

Run towards your goals this year. Knock down the mental obstacles and believe that you can achieve. Hit your personal best? Stop and enjoy the view… you’ve earned it. Follow the grey markers along this tranquil and testing trail.

13. Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire

Distance: 10k

Challenges: Take care at the 2 road crossings in this route

Inhale and exhale. Breathe in that fresh forest air as you achieve your fitness goals. Your body will love you for this. Follow the teal markers starting on the forest access road, then continue on similar flat, fine stoned terrain.

Woman running in the woods
Copyright Jen & Sim Benson, Wild Running

Completed these routes? 

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autumn woodland walk

With hundreds of walking trails for you to explore, from spectacular mountain hikes and sheltered pinewood trails to quiet streamside paths and short play trails, you're never far from a great walk. 

Our walks are for all ages and abilities, for everyone to enjoy, so grab your walking boots and head out into the forest today.