The Outdoor City’s 24km Ecclesall Woods Run

When the peaks are calling, I can’t help but lace up and head out into the hills for a long run exploring the Yorkshire countryside, whatever the weather. The weather had to be emphasised on this occasion, it was thrashing down with rain. I particularly enjoyed the soaking though as it helped wash away the hangover from the previous night.

Eccleshall Woods Challenging Run

I’d been eyeing up The Outdoor City’s challenging run for a while. The 24 km Ecclesall Woods run tracks over to Porter Brook, swings up and out into the Peak District via Redmires Reservoir, heading all the way out until you reach Stanage Edge. It covers a distance of 24km if you start and finish where you’re supposed to but I just set out from home in Nether Edge, rounding the route up to 28.7km.

 

The Outdoor Cities challenging run

Now I’m not going to lie this run was challenging, I think it has been graded well. After almost 5km I nearly turned back due to my lower legs giving me problems. I don’t think they’d fully recovered from the half marathon the weekend before but I powered through and continued on the route out into the Peaks. I regularly run into the Peak District via Porter Brook out of Sheffield. Further up the brook, the climb becomes steeper and the terrain underfoot becomes muddier making it extremely tiring. I’ve still not managed to get all the way out in the Peak District without walking some of the way yet.

Redmires Reservoir to Stanage Edge

By the time you’ve climbed the 200m ascent to the top of Porter Brook you’re out in the open and the route goes across open fields and through a farmyard. Getting to the end of the farm track, swing left and head west toward Redmires Reservoir passing by the north side of Rud Hill.

The terrain over towards Redmires changes more to fell running passing through very boggy moorland, what can you expect running across terrain that’s the beginning of a river. I can’t imagine this changes even in drier conditions so wearing something suitable on your feet is strongly advisable – unlike me.

Once you reach the most southwesterly corner of Redmires Reservoir, pick up Long Causeway trail and continue out until Stanage Edge. Then follow the craggy, gritstone outcrop to Burbage carpark on Ringinglow road. Running along Stanage Edge is taxing, you need to keep a sharp eye on where you place your next footstep to ensure you don’t slip between the rocks and end up in a heap on the floor. It is great for a more technical workout though as you really have to focus on nifty footwork.

Burbage Edge to Lady Cannings Plantation

Crossing over Ringinglow road there is the temptation to head straight off towards Surprise View. But you need to follow the road for 50 yards, cross over the bridge and head along Burbage Edge on the higher of the two paths. The route here becomes an amalgamation of fell and trail running making sure you’re still working hard to concentrate on where your next footstep will be.

Pick up the second track that turns east towards Sheffield and join Houndkirk road. If you’re feeling the burn a little too much by this point you can turn West instead and head to Fox House for a well-earned pint and bus back.

Once you’ve followed the dirt track back past Lady Cannings Plantation and with the Norfolk Arms in front of you, turn right before reaching Ringinglow road again. Now follow the well-trodden trail along the side of Limb Brook through Whirlow Brook woods until you reach Eccleshall Road. Running through this woodland is epic, it has an alpine feel that makes it seem like it’d be more at home somewhere on the continent.

If you’re following the route then cross the A625 and follow the edge of the playing fields back to the start in Ecclesall Woods. Instead, I opted for a slow cruise along Ecclesall road through Whirlow back to Nether Edge.

At this point, I was exhausted and running became extremely laborious as both my legs felt like they’d turned to lead. By the time I’d made my way home, I was running on fumes and more than ready for a nice hot shower but only after I’d washed this filthy river rat, I mean Aggie the Springer Spaniel.

Dirty Springer Spaniel after a long run

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