Moors Valley Country Park and Forest is now hosting a weekly parkrun every Saturday morning at 9am.
It hosted its first parkrun on 7 November, and despite torrential rain over 400 people turned out to enjoy the circular route through the forest to the lakeside marking the start of an exciting new health and leisure activity at Moors Valley.
parkrun is a fun way to enjoy exercising outdoors in the company of like-minded people. The free, 5km timed leisure run is open to people of all ages, abilities and experience. Runs take place every week but participants don’t need to make a long-term commitment and can take part as often as they want. Events are free to attend and runners simply register in advance online and print out a barcode which they present on the day of the run. The only stipulations are that children under 11 should be accompanied by an adult, and dogs are limited to one per runner and must be kept on a lead.
The route taken by the Moors Valley parkrun is flat and easy to negotiate, even for children and people with limited mobility, while being packed with interest. It starts at the totem pole near the Visitor Centre following gravel tracks and tarmac paths through the forest before finishing by Crane Lake.
The parkrun movement began in London in 2004 with 13 runners. Non-profit making and run entirely by volunteers, today there are over 350 parkruns throughout the UK with thousands of participants. The Moors Valley event joins sister parkruns in Poole, Bournemouth, Blandford, Weymouth, Brockenhurst, Salisbury and Southampton.
Chris Archibold, parkrun organiser, said, “Moors Valley is the perfect venue for parkrun. It offers the most idyllic setting with stunning views and a route that does not double back on itself. In addition, the Park has a fantastic range of facilities and other
“The traffic-free route means that runners can participate safely, while Seasons Restaurant in the Visitor Centre offers an excellent place to refuel and socialise afterwards.”
Clare Gronow, Team Leader at Moors Valley Country Park near Ringwood, said, “Parkrun is a grass-roots movement. The local community has really pulled together to make this event happen and we are pleased to have been able to support this event with help from Active Dorset and Verwood Town Council.
“Experience from other parkruns shows that they quickly develop their own community and we are looking forward to the weekly runs becoming an integral part of the Moors Valley calendar. As well as being a fun activity, parkrun will contribute to a number of local health initiatives and can even link into other schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award.”
To help anyone interested in taking part, but who don’t feel quite ready for a 5km challenge, Moors Valley will be holding a series of Beginners Running courses in the New Year. They aim to get you parkrun ready in just 8 weeks.
The route and course information can be found at parkrun.org.uk/moorsvalley. Runners can register for the Moors Valley parkrun and print out their barcode at www.parkrun.org.uk/register.
For more information and details all events at Moors Valley go to www.moors-valley.co.uk.
Over 400 runners, including 10 from Christchurch and East Dorset District Council, braved the wind and rain to be part of the first parkrun at Moors Valley Country Park on 7 November