Top 15 Trail Running Spots

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The UK's national parks are, of course, home to some of the best trail running to be found within the country. It's no wonder that world-famous events such as the Rab Mountain Marathon and Ras yr Wyddfa are held within national park boundaries.

To help trail runners make the most of Britain's breathing spaces, the UK's national parks decided to put together a list of the 10 best trail runs in the country. But then we realised there were just too many quality spots being overlooked, and decided to add 15 more to the list. So, here are the Top 10, no, wait, Top 25 UK National Parks Trail Runs.

Top 10

Talybont Reservoir, Brecon Beacons National Park

Talybont-on-Usk in Powys is the starting place for the Midnight Marathon, which begins from the village then heads towards the reservoir, through forests, over streams, past waterfalls and up mountains, before looping back towards Talybont.
Local Info: Visitors have a spread of good B&Bs and guesthouses, which serve fantastic Welsh breakfasts.
See ideas on where to stay

See a map of the Talybont resevoir run

Wherryman's Way, The Broads

This flat 7.5-mile run on soft terrain starts from Hardley Dyke through fields (where you might spot a barn owl), the run then takes in some roads, lanes, and footpaths, and finishes up at the River Yare on the riverside path.
See a map of the Wherryman's Way run

Loch an Eilein, Cairngorms National Park

This 7.5-mile out-and-back run explores part of the Caledonian pine forests of Rothiemurchus Estate and takes in a circuit of Loch an Eilein. The start is Coylumbridge and the route is spectacular in all seasons.
See a map of the Loch an Eilein run

Wimbleball Lake, Exmoor National Park

The Woodland Walk is a nine-mile circular route around the popular lake, following mostly bridleways and some quiet country lanes. It passes through woodland and grassland, with tantalising glimpses of the lake as you run.
See a map of the Wimbleball Lake run

Five best National Park runs

Five of the best National Park runs

Boost your stamina by hitting a national park trail, where natural wonders will push you to new heights. From: Guardian

Derwentwater, Lake District National Park

Starting and finishing at Fitz Park, in Keswick the 10k Derwentwater Trail Run takes in panoramic views of Derwentwater, the surrounding peaks of Skiddaw and Blencathra and the northern fells.
See a map of the Derwentwater run

Loch Lomond, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

This 15-mile cycleway and footpath takes you from Balloch at the southern tip of Loch Lomond – with the National Park Gateway Centre, Loch Lomond Shores and Balloch Castle Country Park – to Tarbet, where you can stop and take a cruise of the Loch.
See a map of the run

Brockenhurst to Pilley, New Forest National Park

Covering some quiet country lane (remember to stay alert) and off-road segments, this quick 5.9-mile route is likely to muddy your shoes. But the payoff is incredible countryside and forest. Passing through Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust's Roydon Woods Nature Reserve, the run winds from Brockenhurst south to Pilley before heading back to the starting point via the same route.
See a map of the Brockenhurst to Pilley run

Sutton Bank Circular, North York Moors National Park

Start at Sutton Bank National Park Centre and follow this route along the Cleveland Way, (spectacular views across to the Yorkshire Dales) drop down to Boltby, then follow down the streamside and pastures to Lake Gormire, the little-visited lake set in woodland beneath the Sutton Bank escarpment, but save some energy for the sharp pull back up to the Centre and a well-earned cuppa.
See a map of the Sutton Bank run

Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District National Park

This run around The Ladybower Reservoir includes wonderful views and spectacular countryside surroundings.
See a map of the Ladybower run

Half Marathon route, Snowdonia National Park

The course of the Snowdonia Half Marathon takes you through a region of haunting beauty and grandeur, of wild rocky mountains, hidden valleys, cascading rivers, still glacial lakes and deep forests.
See a map of the Snowdonia half marathon run

And 15 more...

Brecon Beacons National Park

Take a run on the Offa's Dyke Path – a 177-mile trail between Chepstow and Prestatyn, and taking in the Brecon Beacons National Park on the spectacular Hatterall Ridge. See a map of the Offa's Dyke Path

The Broads

Weavers' Way runs for 61 miles between Cromer and Great Yarmouth. Join the start at Cromer Pier for a nine-mile run that will take you up the steep Cromer Ridge through National Trust-owned Felbrigg Hall Estate to the quintessentially English village of Aldborough. See a map of the Weaver's Way run

Cairngorms National Park

The atmospheric ruins of Glenbuchat Castle provide the starting point for an eight-mile run along the ridge above the glen, right on the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park. See a map of the Glenbuchat run

Dartmoor National Park

The 10-mile Princetown & Burrator mountain bike route runs from Princetown to the Burrator reservoir, taking in challenging off-road terrain and views that make it worth putting on your trail shoes.
See a map of the Burrator Reservoir run

Exmoor National Park

The 15-mile Exmoor Stagger route follows beautiful and challenging off-road paths, tracks and rough terrain from Minehead. Love hills? You'll love the total ascent stats: 1,700 feet (Exmoor's highest point at Dunkery Beacon) – and then it's back to Minehead.
See a map of the Exmoor Stagger run

Lake District National Park

Taking in a circular route of Newlands this 7.6-mile trek carries you up almost 2,000 feet over the duration of the run. Starting near Derwentwater the challenging route takes you south toward Dalehead Tarn before looping back. Be careful of high winds. See a map of the Newlands run

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

This popular section of National Cycle Route 7 runs from the heart of Glasgow to the village of Balloch at Loch Lomond, on an almost entirely traffic-free tarmac route. It's 20 miles and fantastic for an off-road junkie training for a road marathon, but wanting the freedom of the trails. See a map of the National Cycle Route 7 run

New Forest National Park

Raw, rugged and untouched…Follow the course of the 10-miler that forms part of the New Forest Running Festival held in March.

Northumberland National Park

Close to a section of Hadrian's Wall, with outstanding views of the heritage site, this multi-terrain trail course takes in 4.6 miles of quiet roads, five miles through the forest and 4.5 miles on the grass. See a map of the Hadrian's Wall run

North York Moors National Park

The Cleveland Way combines coast and heather moors over 109 miles of the North York Moors National Park. Follow this 11-mile easy run route over the hill-tops, and take in some fantastic views. See a map of the Cleveland Way run

Peak District National Park

The Monsal trail takes in four former railway tunnels along its 8.5-mile route, plus beautiful countryside through, Monsal Dale, Water-cum-Jolly Dale, and Millers Dale. See a map of the Monsal Trail run

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

A five-mile run accompanied by birdsong through tranquil ancient woodland in Cwm Gwaun, or the Gwaun Valley. Other high points include: Kingfishers and kestrels, river waterfalls, views of mythical Carningli (Angel Mountain) and St Brynach's church, dating back to the 6th century. See a map of the Gwaun Valley run

Snowdonia National Park

Described on the Good Run Guide as "more of a walk than a run" this climb to the summit is not for the fainthearted. But you will be rewarded with wonderful waterfalls, magnificent meadows and fantastic mountain scenery. See a map of the Snowdon run

South Downs National Park

From Beachy Head this 6.5-mile across the Seven Sisters Cliffs takes in sites such as the iconic Belle Tout lighthouse and the cliff-lined beach at Birling Gap, finishing with a memory from geography classes, an ox bow lake at Exceat. See a map of the Seven Sisters run

Yorkshire Dales National Park

The Troller's Trot around Appletreewick is a scenic 25-mile walk/run/jog course that climbs more than 3,000 feet, taking you across moorland (Threshfield Moor and Rylstone Moor) soaking up stunning scenery and finishing on the banks of the River Wharfe. See a map of the Troller's Trot run

Remember that the above are just some of the incredible spots you'll find among the 15 members of the UK's National Parks family. 

See more ideas on what to do in the National Parks on our Top 15 lists page