Salisbury Parkrun

Three years ago my parents moved to Salisbury, and my beautiful wife and I (along with Nelly) have visited at least half a dozen times. Apparently Phil Harding, one of the archeologists from the TV program Time Team, hosted by Tony Robinson lives on the same street. I digress. All those times and I’ve only managed Salisbury parkrun twice, and Helen has never managed it. This was for a variety of reasons. One time we were off to London to see The Lion King musical, and most recently I was just getting over an illness and wasn’t in any way shape or form up to a parkrun.

This weekend though I was ready. It would also take my parkrun p-index up to three. The p-index is the number of parkruns that you’ve done p times. Salsibury would be the third parkrun that I’ve run three times.

Salisbury parkrun is held in Churchill Gardens, which isn’t a particularly large park. This means that in the summer there are three laps, and in the winter four laps, to stay on the paved areas. It’s also quite busy with on average 375 runners every week. With narrow paths if you want a quick time you have to push your way to the front. In the summer I managed to finish in 18th place in a time of 20:30, my fastest time this year.


Having been caught out once, I (we) always check the parkrun cancellations webpage the night before, and then again in the morning, just in case. Alas, Salisbury parkrun was one of dozens called off. The River Avon runs through Salisbury as well as the Nadder. With the heavy rain in the last week all of the flood plains upstream and downstream were full of water. One of these flood plains is adjacent to Churchill Gardens, with one path almost completely under water.


Salisbury parkrun is to the left on the photo above, but this section of the River Avon is usually narrow and quite tame. There used to be a dearth of parkruns where we live until just under four years ago when Lancaster parkrun started, and then last Easter Morecambe Prom parkrun started up. On occasions one or other has been cancelled, but it’s easy enough to get to the other. Salisbury is also in an area with very few parkruns, with the nearest being Moors Valley near Ringwood and Mountbatten School near Romsey, both 15 miles away (if the crow was to fly in a straight line). Without a car it was to be a weekend without a parkrun. Instead I went for a bit of a random run through the suburb of Laverstock before cutting along a cyclepath onto London Road and back to base. Not quite parkrun, but the next one is on Wednesday at Morecambe Prom. Say ‘hi’ if you see me.

Salisbury: Cycling, running and designated habitats

My parents have recently moved to Salisbury, so me and Helen (A.K.A. The beautiful wife) decided that it was about time we visited. Bikes and Nelly (A.K.A. The Hound) were packed into the car for the loooong journey south, without passports.

Only a couple of minutes walk from my parents house there are some great running tracks alongside the River Avon. On the Saturday morning we had thought about joining in the local parkrun, but as we were off to London later that day, we opted to run along the river instead. Hopefully this would tire out the pooch as we were leaving her with my parents for the day.

The River Avon and area is full of designated habitats, as you can see in the photo below, along with the out and back route that we ran (Strava here).


The brown areas are Local Nature Reserves (Avon Valley and Bemerton Heath) and the green areas are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (River Avon System and Avon Valley). The Avon Valley is both a SSSI and a Local Nature Reserve. If you want to find out what designated habitats are near to where you live, search for ‘Defra Magic’.

As you can see from the next photo, Nelly really enjoyed the Avon Valley.


On the Sunday morning I managed a short ride on Otis (Strava here and blog about Otis here). There is a terrible ring round in Salisbury and far too many busy ‘A’ roads, but I managed to find some very nice quiet roads going in a similar direction to the previous days run. There was a cycling event on as well, as I saw plenty of other cyclists with numbers, some directional arrows and a couple of marshals. My short route also found quite a few more designated habitats.


The Lower Woodford water Meadows SSSI was particularly pleasant. A Strava friend, seeing that I was in the area, suggested that if I had the time I should go up Camp Hill, which I managed on the Monday morning. It wasn’t a huge hill, but it reached 12% and had a couple of good corners.

While I was out cycling, Helen repeated our run from yesterday, once again with the pooch. She gave it some biscuits on the way back, and managed a top ten place on a Strava segment. Helen keeps on telling me that she isn’t much of a runner, but she sure looks like a fit runner to me.

My Strava friend also suggested that the next time we were in the area he would take me on a ride around the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, see below.


I’ve got to say, that looks like a great area to ride around. Salisbury, we will return.