My first parkrun of a new decade took me to the beautiful location of Alice Holt Forest, located at Bucks Horn Oak, Farnham, Hampshire
Alice Holt Forest – History
The history of this royal forest goes back to the 18th and 19th centuries where it was then an oak forest that’s wood was used in building the ships for the Royal Navy. In much more recent times though the oak forest has now been replaced by conifer trees and ownership of the land as of 1924 been passed over to Forestry Commission.
So as of today, the forest covers 350 acres of land and caters for nearly 300,000 visitors a year who can enjoy many of the activities the park has to offer!
The purpose of my visit to Alice Holt was to help very good tourist friend Vicky Hamblin celebrate her 250th milestone parkrun and this turned into a double celebration when she teamed up with friend John Whitehall who was running his 250 as well.
The course consists of two clockwise undulating laps of differing lengths around the park’s beautiful forest with the running surface being made up from a mixture of cycle paths to forest trails.
- Strange my Garmin watch recorded a distance of 3.26 miles on this course
- Think you can get away with just running trainers here
- After prolong rain there were a few mud patches in places
- This course is very well marshalled and signposted, so there should be no fear of getting lost
- Finally, on the second lap only if you dare can test your hill fitness on their infamous named Dragons Hill climb 🙂
For me it was just completing the course after a 3-month layoff from running 5KM distance with the added bonus I went round with my very good friend Carl. Time 48:14
There is paid parking available near to the start that has a concession tariff of £2 to park-runners as long as you leave before 10:30am, Sat Nav GU10 4LS. Always a welcome bonus are the toilet facilities are open from 8am at the park’s visitor centre.
After the run we all retired to the parks cafe for tucking into the well-earned celebration cakes and nibbles on offer, for the record loved the lemon drizzle cake 🙂
Also point to note that the cafe gives a 10% discount off your bill if you present your barcode at the till, nice touch!
There are loads of activities Alice Holt Forest has for you to stay longer if you have the time and they include:
- 4 walking trails
- 2 cycling trails
- Go Ape
- Play areas
- Gruffalo sculptures
- Nordic Walking
- Picnic area
I would like to thank this week’s run director Charles Brake and his team of volunteers for making us all feel extremely welcome. Top work guys!
So, if you are looking for a tough, but rewarding parkrun through a beautiful forest then Alice Holt has to be high on your tourist to do list, you have been told!
Finally, for me it was a real pleasure to meet up with my very good tourist friends from Basingstoke again, chat about our latest parkrun adventures and discuss our future plans.
I simply love these celebration meet ups 🙂
Mark aka Silent