Henstridge Airfield Parkrun Guide

Introduction

Henstridge Airfield parkrun takes place around the perimeter of Henstridge Airfield on the Dorset/Somerset border some 15 miles east of Yeovil. It was our second visit to Henstridge; the first was for a balloon flight.  This time, instead of taking off and floating serenely into the distance, we had to run round the edge of the airfield twice, puffing and grunting. 

Henstridge Airfield from above
Henstridge Airfield from above

Orientation

The airfield is rather tucked away at the beck of an industrial estate, but is well signposted. We drove from Bournemouth on the morning of the event, which was a very scenic drive. It’s not a parkrun I’d attempt by public transport; in fact, Google Maps wouldn’t even attempt to provide a route by public transport.

We arrived to discover that it was their first anniversary run and felt somewhat under dressed in our running gear surrounded by runners in fancy dress. We assembled ready for the start between a selection of dinosaurs, fairies, cowboys and a man who appeared to be naked apart from a large number of balloons. I was left hoping not too many popped on the way round!

The briefing was hard to hear; there were aeroplanes taking off and the Air Ambulance was revving up its engine in the background.  It appeared to be mostly a list of recent injuries. And a lot of talk of cake.

Morning drive to Henstridge
Morning drive to Henstridge

Parking

There is plenty of free parking near the start.

Henstridge Airfield from above
Henstridge Airfield from above

Facilities

There is a clubhouse with a very nice café near the start, plus plenty of outdoor seating with a view of the airfield where you can sit and enjoy post run refreshments.

With it being an anniversary event, cake was provided. Unfortunately, the cake was in plain boxes with no labelling so I couldn’t eat any as I couldn’t be sure it was nut free. Although, to be honest, if you are going to risk going into anaphylactic shock, there are worse places to be than standing on the end of an airfield next to an air ambulance with its engines running. Luckily, the old man stepped into the breach and ate two pieces of cake…

Toilets

Nice, clean toilets are also available in the clubhouse.

Course

According the website, “Two laps with an out and back section on a mixture of grass, trail and tarmac, near the edge of the airfield and alongside a river. The start and finish are close to the airfield clubhouse café.” I would describe it as more of an elongated, squished figure 8 (using all the technical terms). It’s very flat with only 3 metres elevation in total. However, according to my Garmin, it was somewhat over 5 km. This always makes me rather grumpy when my watch tells me I’ve reached 5 km and the finish is still not in sight.

Henstridge Airfield Strava segment
Henstridge Airfield Strava segment

Terrain

It was a hard run on the uneven terrain, so the route required a lot of focus as I tried to pick out a path among the many rabbit holes and other pitfalls along the way. In addition, much of the route is lined either with metal fencing or trees and the morning sun shining through these obstacles created a dappled effect which made the ground a whole lot harder to focus on. I reached the end without breaking anything (ankles or records).

Finish of Henstridge Airfield parkrun
Finish of Henstridge Airfield parkrun

Shoes

I wore trainers, which was probably the right decision on the day, as there are tarmac sections as well as grass and trails. In wet weather, trail shoes would probably be the best option.

Difficulty

Run Britain rankings for UK parkruns places Henstridge Airfield as 557th fastest out of 706. With only 3 metres of elevation, an indication of the terrain is that it is almost completely flat yet there are 556 parkruns considered easier to complete.

Henstridge Airfield
Henstridge Airfield

Fun Factor

The terrain made the run hard work. I felt I had to really concentrate so as to avoid tripping or twisting an ankle. However, it is a scenic route along the river. Plus you have the novelty factor of running alongside an airfield, there’s a nice café at the end and the local parkrunners were really friendly and welcoming. So, in all I enjoyed my morning.

Henstridge Airfield
Henstridge Airfield

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

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