Moors Valley parkrun takes place at Moors Valley Country Park, which is 10 miles north of Bournemouth, on the edge of the New Forest. It is situated just off the A31/A337 and is well signposted. After entering the park, and following the signs to the car park, the start is just in front of you to the right. It’s not really a course that can be easily reached by public transport.
There are plenty of toilets near the start at the Visitor Centre. I have to say, they are some of the nicest toilets I have encountered at parkrun. The Visitor Centre also has a cafe for your post run refuelling needs. There is ample parking, but it is not free – you must pay at the paypoint before departure. There is a special price of £1.50 for parkrunners. To qualify for this, you must pay by 10.30 am and depart by 10.45. If you choose to stay longer and enjoy the park’s other facilities (trails, play areas, model railway, golf, Go Ape…), then standard parking charges (approximately £4 an hour) apply. More details can be found here.
The course starts by to the totem pole and consists mostly of an anticlockwise loop, with one short out and back section. It is quite narrow at the start, so can take a while to get over the start line. There are signs with estimated start times for you to place yourself behind to help make the start more manageable. (Or to make the slow runners even slower – depending on your point of view). The start is in a slightly different place to the finish, so it’s not a run where you can leave sweatshirts etc at the start beforehand.
The course is mostly on compact gravel trails in the forest, with the last kilometre on a paved path round the lake.
Run Britain Rankings for UK parkruns place Moors Valley as the 176th fastest out of a total of 706. The course has a total elevation of 18 metres.
The narrow start is a bit tedious. But once you’re on your way, you run through the forest and then alongside a lake, so it is particularly scenic, which helps to put a smile on your face!