While the Southeastern U.S. is now my home, I lived in northern England for 5 years. At that time, the Peak District National Park, in north central England, always meant one thing and one thing only to me: climbing.
The area is full of fantastic opportunities for climbing, mostly on relatively short outcrops of gritstone—a type of sedimentary rock only found in the U.K. and Ireland. Despite rumors of gritstone in Mongolia, no one has ever actually found it there. Gritstone offers the best friction of any rock type and so it is highly prized among climbers.
But on a visit back to the Peak District this year, I discovered that the gritstone edges also make for some excellent running. There are footpaths everywhere in the park; you can run for miles and miles from one climbing area to the next, along the tops, and down into the towns in the valleys.
There is an endless choice of technical trails, grassy cross-country style running, and smooth, wide footpaths and bridleways.
You can link up loops of gradual and rolling hill terrain, or you can run steep ascents and thin ridges. In short, it’s an unsung trail running destination that is worthy of a place on any trail runner’s list of destinations to visit.