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With spring well and truly upon us, many of us are feeling the pressure to renew our gym memberships and get fit and healthy in time for the fast-approaching warmer weather. However, if the prospect of hitting the treadmill in a gloomy fluorescent-lit gym doesn’t fill you with inspiration, hopefully, today’s article will.
In the UK, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to stunning natural landscapes, so what better way to get fit in time for summer than to explore the great outdoors? Today, we’re bringing you a handpicked selection of the UK’s most beautiful rural running spots to give you all the inspiration you’ll need.
#1 The Cheviot Hills, Northumberland
Image by plambertuk
Straddling the divide between Northumberland and Scotland, the breathtaking Cheviot Hills are famed for their distance walking routes as part of the Pennine Way. With plenty of established footpath, it’s a perfect destination for runners looking for a challenge. Why not take on The Cheviot? At 815m high, taking on the gentle slope up the region’s highest peak constitutes some considerable cardio – with rewarding views from the summit. After a challenging day of hitting the hills, rest your legs by staying in one of the numerous holiday cottages throughout the region – providing a cosy home away from home.
#2 Ashdown Forest, Sussex
Made famous as the home of Winnie-the-Pooh, Ashdown Forest is nestled in rural Sussex – in the midst of a protected area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, due to its abundance of local wildlife. Explore the heart of the enchanted forest and discover the inspiration behind A. A. Milne’s books by jogging the loop from Gills Lap around Wrens Warren Valley. You can pick up a map from the Ashdown Forest Centre to pinpoint sights like Roo’s Sandy Pit and even Eeyore’s Sad and Gloomy Place.
#3 Hayle Beach, Cornwall
Running on sand isn’t for the faint of heart – providing an intense, strength-enhancing workout, due to its soft and unstable terrain – so why not reward your efforts with stunning postcard views over St. Ives Bay? Hayle Beach’s pristine, golden sands stretch for 5 miles – all the way from Hayle to Gwithian. With your choice of flat, firm sand or challenging, deep sand – as well as a coastal path set behind the picturesque beach – you can make this run your own by customising your route to suit your stamina.
#4 Fort William, Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands, and Fort William in particular, have long been the destination of choice for outdoor enthusiasts – with a wide range of activities, from the extreme to the leisurely. For an authentic rural escape, get the train from Fort William to Corrour Railway Station and run the loop around the banks of Loch Ossian. Inaccessible by road, this run offers unspoiled views of the dramatic Nevis Range and Scottish Highlands. With a mix of gravel path and compacted trails, this 9-mile run is the perfect way to start a day in the region.
There you have it – four of the UK’s best natural and wild running destinations – so lace up your running shoes and get out and explore the Great British outdoors!