Off the beaten track

I am a keen sprinter and will probably always claim to be. Roughly 3 years ago though, I was accidentally exposed to ‘trail running’ and since then I have become hooked!

Trail running gives you a variety of terrain, scenery, people and awesome locations. Most importantly, the pain and monotony of training is replaced by feelings of freedom and euphoria, assuming you’re doing it right!

True trail running can be found worldwide in large mountain ranges such as the Alps, but there are a few entry level routes in easy reach from London.

With LUCA Cross Country in full swing and BUCS Cross Country just around the corner, I wanted to show you ways of getting off the beaten track, with some amazing off-road options!

BOX HILL, Surrey (51.249042, -0.311731)


Box Hill is my favourite local running destination and you will often find me there on a Saturday morning. I have been going for over 2 years and still don’t think I’ve run the same route twice! This place is huge!

GET THERE: Box Hill is within walking distance of Westhumble train station, served by London Victoria and London Waterloo, with the journey taking ~60 minutes.

EPPING FOREST, Essex (51.660659, 0.049863)


I once went here on my own and fell into a waist-deep bog! Other than that, it’s a great location, with lovely streams running through the forest and gentler hills than Box Hill. This place is seriously huge though, so come armed with reliable GPS!

GET THERE: Any Underground Central Line station from Buckhurst Hill to Epping Station are within easy reach.

NORTH DOWNS WAY, Kent (51.292418, 0.600984)


This is a long trail stretching out into North Kent. Numerous single-track trails make for a great feeling of adventure. A good starting location is the village of Detling, best accessed by car.

GET THERE: Car is best, but Bearsted train station is nearby, just over 60 minutes from London Victoria.

Get out there and try it!



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About Dan Richards 3 Articles
Massive running fan (sprinting, road running, trail running, obstacle running, mud running). Love photography and currently exploring videography. Frequently found combining all of these things with travel! In my spare time I'm a PhD Student at King's College London.