Summer Trail Running in England

Just a quick post today to highlight one thing I love about the Summer time in England – the amazing landscapes and trails. Summer trail running is something I really enjoy, despite the heat and sweat that comes with it.

In fact, I made a short video showcasing some of the local trails I’ve been running this Summer just out on my doorstep. Check it out below.

Highlighting Land Ownership Issues in the UK

Unfortunately the UK has a problem with private land ownership. It is starved (in contrast to its size) of publicly accessible land. Did you know that one third of England’s woodlands are owned by just a thousand landowners?

It may not appear so when you watch the video above and see the photos from my trail running below. But we really do have a problem with the distribution of land ownership.

I consider myself lucky to live where I do now. We have the South Downs on our door step (well just a couple of miles run/walk away). There are also two large sections of nature that are currently accessible to the public. These two areas are owned by the National Trust and the MOD.

With MOD land there are certain times when it is not accessible. Red flags are raised on boundaries and entry points to signal live fire and training exercises. Thankfully I’ve built up a good knowledge of connecting paths and trails which I use to bypass these areas when flags are up.

Summer Trail Running Views

With that said, below I would like to share some photos and views from the trails around where I live. These are mostly taken from Summer trail running this year around the land and woodlands owned by the National Trust and the MOD.

The great thing about Summer trail running in England is the variety of landscape and ‘biomes’ you can explore.

It doesn’t take long to pass through heathland, marshes, clay/sand, woodlands, forests, and wide open moorland on a single run.

Here are some photos from a series of cascading and connected lakes nearby to where I live. They offer amazing views, fishing (though this is private to the local club) and some tricky trail running.

Make the effort to try something new with your route every once in a while. You’re sure to discover something new! Publicly accessible land is limited but there are many footpaths and bridleways connecting areas together. These offer great extensions to runs (or walks) through nature.

Another benefit to all of this trail running is that I can report back to my family on the discoveries. This makes for some amazing walks and adventures with the kids.

As the saying goes – make hay while the sun shines. These long Summer days are worth taking full advantage of before the cold Winter comes back around. With a busy work and family life, having the sun up well into the evening allows me to get out and run the trails even when time is constrained.

4 Comments

  • Carl S Wright Posted August 8, 2021 3:00 am

    Thank you for sharing, Sean. This is really interesting to learn about the private land ownership. It would make it hard for those living nearby to one of those properties, having no legal access to them.

    Great video. Wow, you are a fast runner

    • Sean Posted August 10, 2021 12:37 am

      Thanks for stopping by and reading Carl. Definitely some interesting laws and history around land ownership here in England. I’m learning as I go along. Luckily this green belt area we live near (the South Downs) offers more than enough trail and public land to keep finding new and interesting routes. However in other regions not spoiled by an abundance of National Trust land the trails and open access land are far more limited.

  • Catrina Posted August 8, 2021 11:03 am

    Your running views are fantastic, Sean!
    I especially like that there’s a lot of water – rivers, streams and ponds.

    I wasn’t aware of the land ownership problems in the UK. I guess it’s historical, but it will have to be solved sometime.

    • Sean Posted August 10, 2021 12:41 am

      Hi Catrina,

      The water and streams are some of my favourites too, though some of my favourite trails are prone to flooding up a bit during heavy rains – my shoes are permanently caked in mud! Yes, hopefully something can be done about the land issues. The best we can hope for at the moment is historic ‘large’ land owners donate more land to our National Trust. Aside from that I’m not really sure what else can be done. Land is at a premium!

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