Trail Running in the Peak District

Written by Lukas Saville 28 February 2020

Last modified on 06 February 2024
Trail Running in the Peak District; one of the UK's most beautiful and diverse landscapes for runners of all abilities. Trail Running in the Peak District; one of the UK's most beautiful and diverse landscapes for runners of all abilities.

The splendid landscape of the Peak District is the ideal destination for trail runners, offering a range of routes to suit all levels of experience, in some of England’s finest scenery. The Peak District has long been known as a paradise for walkers and climbers, but it’s also a wonderful place for fell runners, with some of the best off-road running in the entire country. This is the place to come to really stretch your legs, over rocky ascents, moorland, craggy ridges and muddy ditches.

Trail running in the Peak District has taken off in recent years, and there are now many regular events organised by various local clubs. Whether you’re new to the sport or a hardened expert, you’ll find plenty of trails to suit you, together with a warm and welcoming community of like-minded runners. Join us in Castleton to explore this stunning region on one of our Peak District Trail Running Camps .

Padley Gorge

This easy, 6km run is perfect for beginners or those short on time, and will take you through some very pretty scenery in the Peak District. The trail passes through the gorgeous Longshaw Estate, following a lively stream in the Burbage Valley. You’ll cross the village of Grindleford and finish the run in the atmospheric Yarncliffe Wood.

The trail itself is well trodden and easy to follow, and the elevation won’t prove too strenuous, even for beginners. The perfect introduction to trail running in the Peak District!

Dovedale Circular

Dovedale is one of the most popular areas in the Peak District for trail running, and there are many annual events that aim to challenge even the most hardened of fell runners! This circular route around Dovedale won’t cause too many problems for experienced runners, but provides a good opportunity to improve fitness and stamina for intermediate trail runners.

The terrain and scenery are extremely varied, meaning you’ll have plenty of interesting sights to distract you from the steep hills. Don’t miss the impressive limestone Dove Holes and Tissington Spires, and enjoy the incredible views from the summit of Bailey Hill.

Kinder Scout

The Kinder Downfall is one of the most iconic fell running trails in the Peak District, and this circular run covers much of the same scenery. You’ll need to tackle some of the most demanding terrain in the Dark Peaks, but the rewards along the way will make the effort worthwhile!

The undulating peat fields and the deep, muddy trenches will provide a good challenge for fell runners of all levels, and the descent at Jacob’s Ladder may leave you with trembling legs. Nevertheless, this is a trail that all fell runners should attempt at least once, and offers a wonderful day out in some of the Peak District’s most scenic countryside.

Stanage Edge

Stanage Edge towers over the Derwent Valley, an imposing gritstone escarpment with an iconic craggy ridge. The annual Stanage Struggle trail running race passes along the ridge, but you can complete this route at any time of the year.

The run begins and ends at the historic village of Hathersage, ascending to the top of the ridge where you’ll enjoy fabulous views over the moors and valleys of the Peak District. This is a moderate route, with some optional extensions to Stanage Pole and High Neb for those who are feeling up for a challenge.

 The Roaches and Lud’s Church

The Roaches are yet another popular place for trail running in the Peak District, with many regular races and events that pass by these iconic crags. The route will take you all the way up to Doxley Pool (watch out for the legendary mermaid!) and past many of the weird and wonderful rocks along the way.

Finally, you’ll descend into the magical, moss-covered chasm of Lud’s Church, in the middle of some beautiful woodland scenery. This varied and fascinating trail is an ideal introduction to fell running in the Peak District.

Derwent Edge

Looking for a truly spectacular trail running route in the Peak District? Look no further than Derwent Edge, where you’ll find phenomenal views over the Derwent Valley from the high moors. The running here is among the finest in the region, with well-trodden, easy-to-follow paths, and dramatic, varied scenery.

You will pass by calm reservoirs, high, open moorland, and contorted limestone rocks that have been sculpted by the elements. This is one of the best places for trail running in the Peak District.

Mam Tor

If you want a dramatic Peak District run, but you’re short on time, why not try this circular ascent of Mam Tor, one of the most popular and iconic hills in the Peaks? This trail may be short but you’ll certainly get a good workout, as the route climbs steeply up to the summit of Mam Tor. The views from the top are incomparable, with a vista that extends right across to the Kinder Plateau.

The Great Ridge and Win Hill

As the name suggests, the Great Ridge is one of the most dramatic ridge lines in England, extending between the summits of Lose Hill and Mam Tor. This spectacular route will take you over rough and varied terrain, making it a good challenge even for experienced trail runners. Expect wide, expansive views, grassy paths and scented coniferous woodland. Don’t miss the fabulous viewpoint at Hope Cross, an ancient way-marker that has been guiding travellers for centuries.

Join us in Castleton on one of our Peak District Trail Running Camps to explore this stunning region.