Want to enjoy some of Chester’s stunning historic sights and scenic landscapes whilst improving your fitness? Chester certainly isn’t short of running spots, and with everything on offer from short routes to long looping circuits, there’s something for all ability levels. We caught up with local Running & Fitness retailer realbuzz Chester to get the low down on Chester’s top 10 running spots.
Around the city walls
Chester is home to the oldest and most complete medieval walls in the county. In fact, it’s the only city in Britain to still have the full circuit of defensive walls and what better way to experience them than by running the circuit? The walls offer stunning panoramic views of Chester, taking in some of the city’s historic landmarks including the cathedral, Roman Garden, amphitheater and the River Dee. The 2 mile (3.2km) circular route is best run first thing in the morning or late at night to ensure the walls are quiet and free of tourists. Take particular care if running this route in the winter months as the ground can become treacherous.
Chester to Connah’s Quay
If you’re looking for a running route that’s completely free of traffic, then the Chester to Connah’s Quay cycle path is the perfect option. The path follows the former Mickle Trafford to Dee Marsh railway line and offers attractive countryside views. There are working railway stations at either end of the path (Shotton and Chester) so there is also the option to run just one way and return to Chester by train. In total, this route is 8 miles (12.8km).
Grosvenor Park and the Meadows
Grosvenor Park is a Grade II* listed Victorian Ornamental Park and just across the river is the meadows – a beautiful and peaceful area of wetlands. You’ve got a few options with this route. We suggest you start off with a loop of Grosvenor Park before heading across the Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge and over to the meadows. You can then run around the perimeter of the meadows or cut the route short by looping around through St George’s Crescent. Don’t forget to look out for birds along the way, especially greenfinch and linnets as the meadows is a popular spot for wildlife lovers in the city.
Northgate Arena to Chester Zoo
This route involves running a section of ‘National Cycle Route 5,’ or the ‘Pink Route.’ Starting off at Northgate Arena, head through Newton and Upton. You’ll then follow the Shropshire and Union Canal path for a short while. After a few miles, you’ll reach Flag Lane which turns into a foot and cycle path only. This path runs behind the zoo and underneath the Elephant Bridge. You might even get to see some of the animals along your route, but don’t panic – the zoo is well secured! Once you’ve passed through the zoo, you’ll rejoin the canal which leads onto Little Stanley.
Chester Racecourse and along the River Dee
Starting at either The Architect or ABode, head across Grosvenor Road, over Little Roodee Car Park and then along the River Dee. Circling the perimeter of the racecourse, the route is around 6 miles (9.7km) in total. You’ll cross the river using a footbridge and then head back into the city along the Wales Coastal Path. Don’t attempt this route if Chester Races are on, as the course includes parts that are closed off to the public on these days – and you’d also have to be prepared to dodge a lot of spectators around the route!
Chester to Beeston Castle
From the city centre, Beeston Castle is around 11 miles (17.7km). Built in the 1220s, Beeston Castle is a great finishing point to this scenic run. Heading south out of the city, follow the Shropshire Union Canal Main Line past Christleton, Eaton Golf Club and Hargrave. Eventually, you’ll approach Beeston Castle. As well as the castle itself, the area offers woodland wildlife trails and spectacular views of Cheshire.
Christleton to Tattenhall
Beginning in the village of Christleton, pick up the Shropshire Union Canal Main Line and head south through Waverton and Hargrave. Continue until you reach Tattenhall. This route is around 6 miles (9.6km) and is relatively flat. There are a lot of country lanes through Tattenhall to extend this run if you want to. Alternatively, there are a few nice pubs where you could stop for a drink too!
Chester Millennium Greenway
Silverdale Park in Mickle Trafford is a great entry point to the Chester Millennium Greenway. This section of the Greenway was officially opened in 2009 to provide residents with a traffic-free route into the city and also give better access to the countryside to the east of Chester. If you’re looking for a route to get away from the hustle of the city, then this is a great place to head. You can run the Millennium Greenway for as long (or as short) as you like.
Chester to Oulton Park
Widely regarded as the most picturesque race park in the country, Oulton Park is another great destination to bring the checkered flag down at the end of your run. Although you won’t be able to run the course itself, some parts of the race circuit are visible from the surrounding roads. Situated in the village of Little Budworth, running to Oulton Park from the city centre is around 13 miles (20.9km) so is a good option if you’re looking for a longer route.
For some off-road running, head out to Delamere Forest, which is the largest wooded area in Cheshire. Although you might need to travel to the forest by car or rail (trains regularly run from Chester station, direct to Delamere), the running conditions and scenery once you get there will definitely be worth the trip. There are lots of introductory routes marked out around the forest as well as 5k, 10k and longer routes so you won’t be short of choice!
realbuzz Chester is located at 24 Lower Bridge Street, Chester, CH1 1RS. It opens from 10am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm on Saturdays and 10:30am to 4:30pm on Sundays. You can follow them on Facebook here.