Parkrun number 20, and I decided that it was about time to head to the trails. So that’s exactly what I did.
Why Moors Valley Parkrun?
At the start of this month I set myself a mini summer challenge. There are 5 Saturday’s in August, and I’ve decided to run a different Parkrun for each. As Moors Valley is less than 10 miles away, and known for its beautiful trails, it was my first pick. It also came with the added bonus that one of my ‘instagram friends’, Heidi, is part of the core team of volunteers. What a great opportunity to make the most of having a personal guide, as well as an excuse for a post run coffee and chit chat.
Moors Valley Parkrun is reasonably unique in that it’s a single loop course. It starts on the gravel track to the right of the visitors centre. In fact, there’s a totem pole to mark the area, although I think this is probably more by coincidence than design. Either way, find the totem pole, and you’re in the right place (just in case the other 500-ish runners didn’t give it away!)
From the start, you head along a gravel track which makes up the majority of the run. Despite being stoney, the footing is fairly solid, making the course very run-able. There’s a few minor lumps early on, but nothing that I really noticed. And as you’d expect from a forest, much of the course is surrounded by trees and greenery. There’s a very short out and back section, but you reach the turn around almost before you’ve noticed it. After this, the final 1K is on tarmac pathways making for a fast finish. There’s lots to look at during this section as you skirt the golf course and finally cross the line by Moors lake. This is also a large picnic area, so ideal for spectators wanting to watch you run in.
Unfortunately, this is probably one you need the car for. I drove from Bournemouth, but did at least lift share to save needlessly taking multiple cars.
Moors Valley has ample parking. You access it via an automated barrier that reads your number plate. Unfortunately, on the day we went, one of the two barriers had broken and there was such an unexpected queue that we almost missed the start. My advice would be leave plenty of time. You don’t need a ticket. When you are ready to leave, the pay machines by the visitor centre ask for your registration number and then you pay the allotted amount and have 15 mins to reach the barrier which will open automatically on number plate recognition.
If you leave before 10.30, it only costs you £1.20. After 10.30 and there’s a steep jump to £4.50 during the summer.
Knowing you car registration number will save a panicked call to your husband at 10.29…… see above point!
Make note of where you park your car. It all looks the same. Luckily, I can beep our car horn from the app…… not that I lost him.
What I especially love
- The single loop and the fact that the route is so pretty.
- The cafe, ‘Seasons‘ is great. The coffee beans are ethically sourced and much of their food is made from local produce. They do everything from teacakes to a full cooked. Or, as it’s Parkrun day, it’s completely acceptable to go straight to cake for breakfast, right? There’s a really nice outdoor seating area if the weathers good, or the barn for rainy days.
- How much there is to do. With everything form Go Ape, to cycle hire, you could easily bring the entire family and spend the rest of the day exploring.
- The number of dogs. As someone whose day is made or broken by the presence or absence of a dog, this made me very happy!
And what I don’t
- There’s a real bottle neck at the beginning. It took me almost a minute to get running.
A trail 5K is never going to be as fast as running on tarmac. If you’re aiming to run fast though, you really need to make sure that you start far enough forward or you’ll find you’ve lost 30 seconds before you even get going. The last KM is fairly swift once you hit the tarmac. Moors Valley is a beautiful rather than fast course I would say.
Stats from 3rd August 2019
Event number: 194
Number of runners: 541
This weeks fastest: M- 17.01 F- 20.28
All Time Stats
Lasting memory of Moors Valley Parkrun:
Sitting with friends in the sunshine after a really beautiful, chilled run, enjoying a toasted tea cake and a cappuccino. Moors valley really is a feel good event. Some runs are functional, but this one felt kind of special. And, only 10 miles from our house, I already can’t wait to come back.