Six easy-to-follow 5km running routes in North Devon

Rock Park in Barnstaple is an easy and flat 5km loop. Picture: Tony Gussin

Rock Park in Barnstaple is an easy and flat 5km loop. Picture: Tony Gussin - Credit: Archant

If you took up running as a new year’s resolution, the chances are your motivation might be starting to dwindle - but we’re here to help that.

Victoria Park in Bideford provides a simple 5km route. Picture: Torridge District Council

Victoria Park in Bideford provides a simple 5km route. Picture: Torridge District Council - Credit: Archant

Once you’ve pounded the same pavements week-after-week, it can get a little tedious.

The best way to combat this is to mix it up, by finding some new running routes to add to your routine and help you keep up the pace.

Whether you’re training for a race or just trying to improve your fitness, here are six 5km running routes in North Devon to try out.

Rock Park loop, Barnstaple

Start/end point: Children’s play area in Rock Park


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Distance: 5km (3.1 miles)

Take inspiration from Parkrun and do two-and-a-half loops of this flat course for an easy going run or a chance to improve your pace.

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Starting at the play area in Rock Park, loop around the park towards the Park School end, and back along the river.

The Tarka Trail near Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

The Tarka Trail near Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble - Credit: Archant

Follow the river up to war memorial and of the park, where you’ll head back round the way you came.

Now you complete two laps of the entire thing for your 5km achievement, finishing back at the play park, and making a nice figure-of-eight shape on the map.

A nice flat course and all on tarmac too. Join the parkun for free and complete it at 9am every Saturday morning.

Victoria Park loop, Bideford

Start/end point: Bideford Children’s Centre in Victoria Park

Distance: 5km (3.1miles)

Bideford’s Parkrun route provides another, mostly flat 5km route which is easily accessible for all.

It’s mostly flat with a few little slopes, and with fairly stable ground underneath and a long grass runway finish.

Putsborough to Woolacombe and back is a picturesque route. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Putsborough to Woolacombe and back is a picturesque route. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Complete three anticlockwise loops of the park, including around the King George V playing fields.

Again, this loop should create a figure-of-eight loop on a map, and is a pretty good course for beginners or those looking to improve their times.

Putsborough to Woolacombe

Start/end: Putsborough car park

Distance: 4.9km (3.06 miles)

If you want a scenic run on the sand, then it doesn’t get much more straightforward than running from Putsborough to Woolacombe.

Starting at Putsborough car park, get down onto the beach and simply run to Woolacombe – then turn around and come back!

Running on the sand will give you a whole new experience if you’re used to tarmac, and you’ll take in some fresh sea air as you go.

You could also do the route the other way if starting at Woolacombe is easier.

Barnstaple two bridges

Start/end: Tesco Extra at Taw View, Barnstaple

Distance: 5.4km (3.4 miles)

Tesco Extra is the easiest place to start this run, as you can park up and go.

Head towards the train station and onto the Tarka Trail. Head towards the Taw Bridge, looping underneath to come up onto the bridge itself.

Possibly the most testing bit of this run is the bridge itself - the second half downhill is worth the steady climb to the summit.

Once you’ve crossed the bridge, head back onto the Tarka Trail and loop back towards the town, heading along the river to the Strand.

Keep running along the river, across the Square and along Taw Vale. At the war memorial continue along the river through Rock Park, all the way to the iron bridge. Cross the bridge and loop back down towards town.

To complete the run, head towards the Tarka Tennis centre, then back through Seven Brethren to Tesco Extra.

Instow to Bideford

Start: Bideford railway centre

End: Instow (catch a bus back or loop back for a 9km trail)

Distance: 4.5km (2.8 miles)

For a short, flat run, take in the scenes of the River Torridge by running the distance from Instow to Bideford.

Starting outside Johns of Instow, head onto the Tarka Trail and simply follow it to Bideford until you reach the railway station in East-the-Water.

No matter which direction you run, you can stop for a drink at either end and then hop on a bus back to where you started.

Or once you’ve built up the distance, head back the way you came for a 9km loop.

Hospital Hill Climb, Barnstaple

Start/end point: Co-Operative, Pottington

Distance: 4.9km (3.06 miles)

If you want to really get those calves burning, a sprint up Hospital Hill will certainly do the trick!

Start at Pottington (outside the Co-Op store should do it), run along to Fair View and around to North Row until you hit the bottom of the hill.

Take a deep breath and set off up the hill (whether you sprint it or walk/run, it depends how energetic you’re feeling!) until you reach the hospital.

Run down Westaway Plain, along Northfield Lane, Bellaire and Windscor Road until you hit Chaddiford Lane.

Enjoy the final downhill bit of the run as you return back to Pottington where you started. A good one for a bit of elevation!

Got a great 5km running route in North Devon you want to share? Post it on our Facebook page or comment below!

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