Wendover Woods parkrun
Wendover Woods parkrun is a one-lap course near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. The postcode is HP22 5NQ and the turning to the woods is signposted off Upper Icknield Way. The car park is quite a long drive up from the road, but once you get there it is quite large and can currently hold 200-300 cars (this will be expanding to over 500 in the near future), but the parking isn’t free and you must pay before you leave (currently £2.20 for two hours). The café is very small with only a few tables, but it does serve hot food and drinks (the bacon baguettes were delicious) and they are building a much larger café, which will be good for future parkrunners. There are toilets, which are open before and after parkrun. It’s worth noting that the course page says that Wendover Woods parkrun is unsuitable for buggies and that no dogs are allowed.
The start line for parkrun is about 200m down the hill from the car park. You have to run back up that hill and then run one lap around the woods. The first 500m or so is on mud, but then you move onto trail and it’s trail for most of the rest of the course, apart from the last 500m which is on mud and then a grassy finish. I say ‘trail’, but a large percentage of it is on enormous, loose stones which are quite hazardous to your ankles. This is really a course of two halves; the first half is mostly downhill and the second half is mostly uphill. As I ran the first half downhill, I knew I would have to pay for it at some point and it was quite a dispiriting second half. This uphill is long, steep and very tough. We went with a group of parkrunners and even the most seasoned runners had to walk up that hill. However, in spite of how difficult Wendover Woods parkrun is, it is also very rewarding with some very fine views. It’s also really lovely running through the trees. Plus, you run past the Gruffalo statue near the start and he’s very easy to find afterwards for a photo opportunity.
Wendover Woods parkrun hasn’t been going all that long and the runner numbers generally seem to be under 100 and, being a one-lapper, it does not feel at all congested on the way round. It is a challenging course, for sure, but definitely worth a visit for the views and the general loveliness of running through the woods.
Official Event Page: Wendover Woods parkrun
Nearby postcode: HP22 5NQ
Hills (as logged by Suunto Spartan Trainer): Ascent 56m / Descent 71m
Subjective PB potential: 1/10 – extremely hilly, muddy and stoney
Distance Displayed on Suunto Spartan Trainer: 5.12 km