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Experience | Trail Running

Trail running is a combination of running and hiking and usually takes place across hiking trails over hilly (or mountainous) terrain, which contains a good range of ascents and decents. It is closely related to cross country running, however trail running generally covers longer distances.

Most trail runners use footwear which has been specifically designed for covering long distances over a wide variety of terrain, often in muddy or wet conditions. These shoes have stiffer soles than traditional running shoes, provide added traction for running across sharp (and potentially slippery) rocks and are weather-resistant, yet breathable. They also provide less cushioning than road shoes, as the ground is often softer than tarmac and they are lower to the ground to help with maintaining balance on uneven terrain.

Other equipment to consider, depending on the season, are sunglasses and sunscreen, a hat, water bottle or hydration pack and a lightweight, breathable waterproof jacket. A good quality jacket will usually be windproof if it is designed to be breathable. It is also important to provide an energy source so, in addition to maintaining your fluid intake, pack an energy bar or gel.

if trail running alone, always tell someone where you are going and your anticipated time of return. Whilst a signal cannot be guaranteed in certain areas, take a mobile phone and if you are carrying a rucksack also consider a first aid kit, map and compass or GPS receiver. This is particularly important if you are running on Exmoor or Dartmoor, as conditions can change rapidly on open moorland, whatever the time of year.

Good locations to try are the Teign Valley, Haytor which is near Okehampton and nestled on the edge of Dartmoor, Haldon Hill and Woodbury Common, which provides a range of hills and terrain. You may also wish to try part of the South West Coast path from Exmouth to Axmouth, Brixham to Kingswear or in North Devon, between Lee Bay and Woolacombe.

The best way to experience new trails is to purchase an Ordnance Survey map of the area, set out some routes and then explore and discover some of England’s most stunning scenery and terrain by wild running across Devon’s incredible landscape.

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