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Top 7 National Trust places to go wild running in the South West
The National Trust works to protect some of the most important spaces and places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. During our journey to research Wild Running we came across a huge number of beautiful routes that were in places owned by the Trust. As well as the historic houses and gardens for which they are probably best known, they cover coastline, forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, moorland, islands, archaeological remains and nature reserves.
Claire Bryden of the National Trust has put together a list of her top 7 National Trust places to run in the South West of England:
Have you ever been on a run at a National Trust place? There are coastal paths, Parkruns with an urban view, woodland, gorges and lots in between. Here’s our pick of the top 7 wild runs in the South West.
The Cliffs, Cheddar, Somerset
Once you’ve completed the challenging climb to the start line you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of a place classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The route takes you down to the bottom of the gorge. A great run for more experienced runners who are looking for a technical challenge (doesn’t come any more challenging than navigating the aptly named ‘Hell Steps’!). Reward yourself with a stop to eat at one of the many picnic spots.
Near Broadclyst, Exeter, Devon
Every Saturday join the Killerton parkrun, or run any day on this mixed terrain route. Through fields, woodland and working farmland, this course is mainly level with a couple of uphills. Killerton parkrun is great route for beginners looking to improve and more experienced runners wanting to up their pace.
This Cornish 10K off-road trail at Sandymouth provides brilliant views of the South West coastal path. The run provides some easier level legs, mixed in with the rocky hills along the sea. Plus some cover through woodlands and farms. The Sandymouth course offers a challenge to beginners and experienced runners.
Drewsteignton, near Exeter, Devon
Have you seen the Castle under wraps? Your route takes you past castle, round twists and turn, up narrow and steep paths and past the river and across bridges. It’s worth noting there’s a café at the top and a pub at the bottom of the valley.
Brilliant for beginners and those looking for a quick wild run. The route goes along the famous Beech Avenue, past the medieval Lodge Farm and up to High Wood where there is a good view across to Kingston Lacy house. Then past the ancient Iron Age hill fort and back down Heron Drove to the car park.
Woolacombe and Mortehoe, North Devon AONB
A favourite spot for merchants, smugglers and now runners and surfers, the area provides jaw-dropping views and very challenging runs. Home to the summer North Devon Marathon, it’s a well-loved route for its spectacular views and cragged cliffs overlooking windswept bays.
This route is great to runners and walkers. If you like history and culture, this is as invigorating for the mind as it is for the body. Admire the majestic views down into the picturesque World Heritage City of Bath, run past the prehistoric Iron Age hill fort and historic 18th-century follies.