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Running in the forest

Boost for public health with 200km of new running trails open in the nation’s forest.

Forestry England has launched new waymarked running trails in 18 forests around the country.  From 1km running routes right up to 10km, the new trails have been designed with both beginners and seasoned runners in mind. They provide an opportunity to run on safe, off-road, traffic-free trails in beautiful forest locations. 

200km of mixed terrain trails have been created this year, supported by Sport England using funds raised by players of the National Lottery.  Sport England and Forestry England are working together to offer people of all abilities even more opportunities to be active in forests.

Trudi Else, Strategic Lead at Sport England said:

“More people than ever before are getting active by walking and running. Providing fun and practical ways for everyone to start or continue running and waking will be critical if we are to continue to boost the nation’s activity levels.

“That’s why Sport England is proud to be working with Forestry England and investing National Lottery funding into developing a fantastic network of marked trails. By making running and walking through the forest more accessible many more families, friends and communities will feel confident to hit the trails, enjoy nature and benefit from being active outdoors.”

 

Rachel Tallon, Active Forests Programme Manager from Forestry England said:

 “We have lots of visitors who would like to run in our forests but are not familiar enough with our trails or worry about getting lost.  The new waymarked trails remove all those concerns so that runners can just enjoy the benefits of being in the forest; fresh air, wildlife, spectacular views and escape the stresses of life.

“The different distances on offer are also a great way to build up endurance and to progress from 1k to being able to run 5k or 10k routes.”

 

Alex Lines is a regular runner on the new routes at Bedgebury National Pinetum and said:

“It's easily accessible, you just follow the signs until you're back where you started; simple! It's also a standard distance, and as such you can repeat it whenever you like and time yourself to track progress.”

 

More information about all the new waymarked running trails can be found at forestryengland.uk/running. You can also join Forestry England’s Strava club to see how others have got on across England.

Here is a flavour of what you can expect at some of Forestry England’s new off-road trails:

Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent

Route: National Pinetum

Distance: 3k

Highlights: A stunning route through the National Pinetum, where you will run past impressive conifers and picturesque lakes.

Terrain: All weather tarmac and gravel paths.

Challenges: With a mixture of gentle downhills, and short inclines this route offers a great introduction to trail running.

Alice Holt, Surrey

Route: Alice Holt 3k

Distance: 3k

Highlights: Gorgeous variations of tree species and multiple deer spotted regularly.

Terrain: Mixed; forest roads, trails, muddy in parts.

Challenges: Dragon Hill (check it out on Strava!).

Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria

Route: Whinlatter 5k

Distance: 5k

Highlights: Amazing Douglas fir trees, stunning views of the Lake District National Park and Grizedale Pike and the opportunity to spot wildlife including red squirrels and osprey.

Terrain: Forest road with one short section of path.

Challenges: A long climb up that takes in 210 meters of mountain ascent.

Haldon Forest Park, Devon

Route: Haldon Challenge and running route

Distance: 5k

Highlights: A lovely mixture of scenery; you get to run through the butterfly conservation area and a magical tree tunnel.

Terrain: Mixed; surface path, gravel and grass.

Challenges: Mixed terrains, steep gradients, ups and downs.

Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

Route: Staindale Lake

Distance: 10k

Highlights: A beautiful tree tunnel and magical views across the North York Moors National Park and Langdale.

Terrain: Mixed; stoned road, footpath and grass.

Challenges: Mixed terrain and steady climb to view point.

Cannock Chase Forest, Staffordshire

Route: Cannock 10k

Distance: 10k

Highlights: The stunning Fairoak pools and model railway crossing.

Terrain: Mixed; flat, well surfaced trails and rougher, looser forest tracks.

Challenges: A long challenging climb (over 1km) and testing terrain.

Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire

Route: Sherwood 5k

Distance: 5k

Highlights: Mighty trees, enjoyable winding path, dense forest and wildlife.

Terrain: Mostly forest trail.

Challenges: With only slight undulations throughout the trail it is great for beginners.

Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire

Route: Salcey 5k

Distance: 5km

Highlights: Fast, flat, off-road surfaces will lead you through the picturesque autumnal colours created by the wide variety of tree species in the ancient woodland of Salcey. Whilst winding your way through the course you may catch a glimpse of the Druids Oaks believed to be around 400 years old. 

Terrain: Mixed; a combination of forest road and surfaced trails.

Challenges: With the flat terrain the biggest challenge here is your own; can you beat your best time?

Wyre Forest, Worcestershire

Route: Wyre Forest 5km

Distance: 5km

Highlights: Beautiful mix of forest views; through the oak and beech trees you may spot some deer.

Terrain: Well surface forest roads, wide solid paths

Challenges: A number of steep gradients up and down with a steady uphill climb of around 200 metres to the finish.

Media Contact

Rebecca Tempest, Active Forests Marketing Manager, Forestry England

rebecca.tempest@forestryengland.uk

07827239408

Images

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v63l6vf9wcforld/AABy0W1J3Csx_NQpeVjaml2wa?dl=0

Notes to Editor

About Forestry England 

Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, welcoming 230 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and are enhancing forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. For more information visit forestryengland.uk. Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.

Waymarked running trails on offer from autumn 2019

Alice Holt Forest, Surrey

1,3,5km

Bedgebury National Pinetum, Kent

2/3/5/10km

Cannock Chase Forest, Staffordshire

1/2 km along a 3km route with 'turn around' signage and 5/7.5/10km

Chopwell, Gateshead

3and 5km

Dalby Forest, Yorkshire

1/2/3km along a 5K route with 'Turn around signage' another 5km, 10km

Delamere Forest, Cheshire

5km

Mallards Pike, Forest of Dean

2,3,5 and 10km

Haldon Forest, Devon

1/2km along a 3K route with 'Turn around signage' and 2 x 5km

Hamsterley Forest, County Durham

1/3/5 and 7km routes coming soon

High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk

Coming soon

Jeskyns, Kent

Coming soon

Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire

3/5/10km

Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

5km

Thames Chase, Essex

Coming soon

Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire

1/3/5km route. Double circuits of 5km for a 10k

Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire

0.9/2/2.6/3/4.1 km

Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria

5km and 10km

Wyre Forest, Worcestershire

1/2/3/5/7.5km

About Sport England 

Sport England is a public body and invests up to £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport.

It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active - like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.