We’ve the Salomon City Trail in a matter of days(7th June) and it got me thinking….
What is City Trail? Turns out it’s nothing new. I live in Sheffield, Hillsborough to be precise and not very far from the Rivelin Valley. Ideal running opportunity. The blend of road, trail and steep sided valley – leading straight out into the Peak National Park if you fancy a solid hour there/hour back.
It’s perfect for a quick dash from door to trail and back again. There are tarmac sections, leading to leafy tree lined roads with winding dirt tracks that snake alongside. If I wish to, I can climb through Worrall toward Hillsborough Golf Course and playfully descend through the woods under Wadsley Common. Further afield, there’s the slow ascent to Damflask – 3 miles total climb, then the optional lap around the reservoir, figure eight combining Agden if I’m feeling strong/have time, then the speedy run back down Loxley Rd, or the hellish Back Lane/Moor Rd/Kirk Edge Rd loop, back toward Hillsborough from the north.
If something more practical is in order, I run to work – but choose, on occasion to avoid the hum drum of the Ring Road/Attercliffe and head for the canal. Victoria keys to the store, via the seclusion and soft ground of the towpath. Upsetting anglers as I go. Deviations come in the form of the Five Weirs Walk along the River Don, or swerving toward town long enough to cross the Spider Walk underneath the Wicker Arches. All good fun, especially if – like me, you enjoy spotting locations used in films(Spider Walk/Sussex St being used in Four Lions for example).
Some of my favourite running has been this kind of exploration right outside my door. I have the Loxley Valley up the road, Rivelin Valley next to that. There are cut throughs and footpaths here, there and everywhere for me to link up into a loop, making for a good hour’s round trip without ever finding myself further than a mile away from my house.
I’ve discovered all sorts in my few visits, which – depending on the time of day/year can feel very different and provide technical challenges. Little Matlock Wood, beneath Stannington, overlooking Loxley Valley has some great little features. I actually discovered a waterfall there, along with a cliff top edge path and underlying track through ruined mill buildings. Atmospheric during the twilight hour.
Point is, you don’t need a car. You don’t have to waste time heading out to a spot that takes longer to reach than to run. Just get exploring and you’ll discover that your neighbourhood holds a wealth of opportunity. Steep roads, giant sets of steps, canals, parks, cycle routes, ex railways, woodland and infinite gennels connecting them all up. Go find.
If you’re tempted and would enjoy the chance to join others, or run alone around some of the surprisingly interesting and convenient routes available, just out of sight – within the City of Sheffield, come take part in the Salomon City Trail event taking place here at Accelerate store on the 7th of June from 8.30am(first run is at 9am). You can go where you please in test shoes from Salomon, plus a watch from Suunto to try at the same time. We will also have a pre determined route for you to complete if you like, which will be approx 5k, with a shorter course provided as alternative. Lots of fun for all. Full details here.
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