Parkrun in the Kent Downs

Man running along woodland path in winter with leaves on the ground

Outdoor Activities tagsWellbeing tags

26th February 2024

The global phenomenon of Parkrun offers a unique blend of fitness, nature and local spirit. If you haven’t yet heard of Parkrun, this community-focused initiative, encourages people of all ages and abilities to come together for free, weekly, timed 5-kilometre runs. It takes places in parks and outdoor spaces across the world, with the primary goal to promote health and wellbeing in local communities.

Whether you walk, run, volunteer, or simply spectate, our local Parkrun events offer a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the unique and varied landscapes of the Downs. So, lace up your running shoes and try out these Parkrun events in and around the Kent Downs National Landscape:

Lullingstone Parkrun

This challenging route takes participants on a journey through Lullingstone Country Park. In fact, Lullingstone Parkrun is the 16th hilliest Parkrun route in the country! As runners navigate the undulating paths, they are treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding Darent Valley countryside and the iconic Lullingstone Castle. The route winds its way through chalk grassland and ancient woodlands, providing a perfect blend of challenging terrain and natural beauty.

View across hay fields to Lullingstone Castle

Shorne Woods Parkrun

On the other side of the Kent Downs, the Shorne Woods Parkrun offers a contrasting but equally enchanting experience. Set within the ancient woodlands of Shorne Woods Country Park, this flat route makes it suitable for a wide range of abilities. The well-maintained trails wind through the woods, creating a sense of serenity as you complete three laps of the course to reach 5km.  Join your fellow runners for post-run refreshments  at the eco-friendly Visitor’s Centre after, or make the most of your visit and continue to explore the Country Park. Don’t miss the sculpture-filled sensory garden!

Shorne Woods Country Park in autumn

Malling Parkrun

Taking place around the tranquil waters of Leybourne Lakes, Malling Parkrun offers a peaceful escape for runners seeking a refreshing change of scenery. The flat and well-maintained paths wind their way around the lakes, providing participants with panoramic views of the water and the surrounding greenery. The course is made up of two identical, clockwise laps of the main lake, along a relatively flat gravel path. There is plenty of wildlife at this Country Park, so keep your eyes peeled for water birds, such as tufted ducks and little grebes, and listen out for the iconic song of the nightingale.

View across vivid blue waters of Leybourne Lakes

Squerryes Winery Parkrun

For a completely unique running experience, the Squerreys Winery Parkrun is a must-try! Located in West Kent, on the outskirts of Westerham, this course takes you through the vineyards of the award-winning Squerreys Winery on the North Downs. The undulating paths wind through rows of grapevines, creating a picturesque backdrop that is visually stunning. The course is made up of one-and-a-half clockwise laps around the fields, which can get very muddy in the winter months – one for the fans of cross-country running!

Close up of bunches of black grapes on the vine

Parkrun events close to the Kent Downs

Beyond the enchanting landscapes of our country parks and vineyards, Kent is home to several other Parkrun courses that beckon enthusiasts from nearby towns and villages.

The Dover Waterfront Parkrun is a new addition to the Parkrun family, with its stunning coastal views and a refreshing sea breeze as participants navigate its course. The course is completely flat and is open to all abilities including wheelchair users and those who wish to walk. Enjoy views of the imposing Dover Castle sitting atop the famed White Cliffs of Dover, and run past the start/finish line of the North Downs Way National Trail.

Folkestone’s Parkrun takes advantage of its coastal location, offering a scenic route along the Leas promenade. Soak up the incredible views across the English Channel, the link between the two protected landscapes that make up the Cross-Channel UNESCO Global Geopark. The Parkrun course in Folkestone is entirely tarmac with just a slight gradient, and best of all, your four-legged friends are welcome to run with you here!

Seaview of the Channel on a sunny day

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