Length 6.2 km (3.8 miles), terrain: flat
London Running Routes:
Best London Running Routes: Overview
Docklands-LimehouseRegent's Canal and Camden Town
3-Parks Route: Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James' Park
Heathrow Harmondsworth Moor
Wimbledon Common Trail Run
Royal Docks/ExCeL Route
Kew / Brentford Thames Run
For more running routes, see Route List.
If you want to do some nice trail running in London, there are a few places to go: Hampstead Heath, Richmond Park, and this route, Wimbledon Common. Wimbledon is unique for its expanse of heath (sandy land covered by scrubby heather bushes). In fact, it's the biggest stretch of heath in the London area. If you want to feel like you're out in the English countryside, you'll love the Common.
|Waymarker at the Common windmill|
Actually this public land includes not just Wimbledon Common, but also Putney Common and Putney Heath, all sitting next to each other. And, if you want to add distance to the run, it borders on the huge expanse of Richmond Park just to the west, where you can continue running through fields and ancient woods for hours.
This route is actually a bit short compared to how far you could run through the Common, but I was there during the short, dark days of late January, so things were getting dark before I could explore the other ends of the park.
|The War Memorial: head straight out through the Common behind the cross|
NOTE: If you start the run at the Wimbledon tube station, you'll need to add a kilometer at each end of the run to get to/from the station. From the station, just head uphill along Wimbledon Hill Road, then keep left at the top of the hill and continue the last blocks along Wimbledon High Street to the war memorial.
At the war memorial, head northwest through that triangle of green behind it, and then continue in the same direction into the woods of the Common, following the small footpath next to the very muddy horse-riding track along Memorial Ride. In fact, almost the whole Common seems to be a giant mud puddle, so I hope you're not afraid of getting dirty!
|The turnoff onto Green Ride. Did I mention the mud?|
You're now heading north through open country, with a few fields. Just before the 1.5-kilometer mark, the trail runs into Windmill Road, a dirt car road. You'll see a putting green for the Scottish golf course across the road, and a group of buildings behind it for the clubhouse and public café.
|The houses around the windmill, from Windmill Way|
|The windmill without wings at the moment|
You're heading north again, through some very typical landscape for wet, sandy areas in Britain. I especially love the gorse, the thorny green bushes with golden-yellow flowers. If you smell them, you'll find that they smell like coconut butter!
|Off through the heath!|
Keep running through the heath until you hear the loud road ahead, Kingston Road, at the northern corner of the Common (actually everything north of the windmill is part of Putney Common).
|Kingsmere in evening light|
|My nice new Brooks!|
You'll cross a riding trail and then come to a crossing foot-trail. Turn left on the footpath and run through the open heath back towards the windmill.
When you get back to the windmill parking lot, we'll run around the back side this time. Run through the parking lot, past the café, and curve to the left around the park wardens' building and through the golf course to get back to the spot where you first came to Windmill Road.
Now head back south along Green Ride again, but this time stay on it until it comes to a nice little neighborhood at the edge of the Common, on West Place.
|The Green, looking back, with Rushmere Pond|
You'll cross Cannazaro Road, which bisects the green, then run past Rushmere Pond on your right side. After the pond turn left to get back to Wimbledon High Street and the War Memorial.