All parkruns are created equal, and I don’t have favourites, but those on National Trust property always have stunning scenery. And generally hills. Lanhydrock is known for being tough. Is it harder than Lyme Park, which has hard rocky trails? Or Dunedin, which is all on tarmac, but features its toughest hill twice? I am not sure. Similar, for sure – I was only a few seconds slower here than Dunedin, and my quicker time there was on a second running, so I’m putting the quicker time down to experience, rather than it being an easier run.
I parked at Bodmin parkway (all-day parking at weekends – £1.50), which also has a cafe and toilets, if you need either. From there it’s a 1.7mile route to the start, down the original carriage-drive to the house (as the course page points out). That is, in itself, a lovely route; firm underfoot, via a stone underpass under the railway line, past ‘Station pond’ and with the River Fowey on your right, then left, as you go.
Lanhydrock is the name of both the house, the estate and also the civil parish. The house has some sections from the 1620s with some built after a fire in 1881, and is set on hilly ground. The National Trust has looked after the place since 1953, while the parkrun dates back to January 2014. It is well worth a visit; I was surprised that the entry prices were so reasonable, at £8.45 for an adult, but the website suggests that is the winter price. Given the website says that will next run from November 2019 to January 2020, but it is now March and those prices were at the gate, it might be worth checking if price is a deal-breaker.
The house isn’t open till 11, though, so we were free to jog in. The route from the station takes in the worst of the uphill (almost all of it if the signs are in place when you run up the main avenue, and you follow them off to the right) and none of the down. Plus there was an extra uphill section to get from drive to avenue. That made the run a nice surprise for me – I had done the up, knew it would be tough, but ran down (past the house, then up) and down and down, before the up, which doesn’t come till you are a couple of miles in. Given the length of the downhill section, I was even surprised at the up – it just didn’t seem like we had come back up far enough.
The course even has a net downhill – there’s a small truck at the start for you to put stuff in, which is taken to the finish – as you run past the start, downhill to finish on the main avenue. I didn’t feel like I hit top speed, tired from the slog uphill, but it is definitely a faster finish than it could be.
There are plenty of other paths to explore in the grounds, though most of the ones I took ended at a road. Access from all directions is good! Eventually I took one of those gates, rather than doubling back, and had a short section on the road, down to Cutmadoc village, before heading back into the grounds. That brought me back to the main entrance, from where it’s a left turn back onto that carriage-drive. Lovely. Glorious. Worth the journey to Cornwall, all on its own.
Go on then, one more picture of the house and grounds – even in March, some great colours on the trees (because we’re all doomed, but it’s enjoyable while it lasts).