Keep on running in the East Midlands

Whether you run for fitness, walk for wellbeing or you’re training for an event, our waterways offer ample opportunities to help you reach your goals

Peaceful running in the East Midlands


Would you like to run the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2019 on behalf of the Canal & River Trust? We’ve been allocated a limited number of spaces in this incredible event, and we’re keen to hear from keen runners who would like to take part and help raise vital funds to help make life better by the water.

Plan your route

Whatever your level of running ambition – whether you’re training for an organised event or just getting started – the flat surfaces and convivial atmosphere of a canal towpath can give you just the boost you need. Ruth Allen, who runs alongside the Cromford Canal in Derbyshire, explains the appeal.

‘While I run for personal fitness, I suppose I also run because I like the world I see when I’m out there and I like the feeling I get afterwards,’ she says. ‘I’ve always run on trails and up hills and mountains, which I find easier than road running and a lot more interesting. On the road I get pretty bored, but when I’m running along towpaths and trails, there’s so much to see that I forget the pain in my muscles. I get into a natural rhythm.’

It’s no surprise. The Cromford Canal is home to a six-mile Site of Special Scientific Interest and a local nature reserve. You’ll also see some impressive feats of engineering, such as the Amber Aqueduct, the Butterly Tunnel and the Lea Wood Pumphouse.

Nestling on the outskirts of the Peak District, the Cromford Canal has a wide variety of running routes. Beginners can tackle short sections of the canal, which offer flat, relatively forgiving ground. More energetic runners could try running the entire length, which measures just over 14 miles.

If you are up for a bit of a challenge, you can start from Cromford, snake along the A5012 for around half a mile, then along the Clatterway before heading for the hills up Black Tor Road. Cut along Slaley Lane towards Upper Town, then descend via The Bank and More Lane to Abel Lane, turning right and heading towards Matlock. There, join the River Derwent and head south back to Cromford (or catch the train if you run out of steam). Refreshing rewards await at either Wheatcroft’s Wharf Café or The Boat Inn.

Fancy a challenge?
Did you know that the Trust has a few limited places to run in the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon? If you’re interested to run for us in this iconic event, helping to raise funds for our work, email us to register your interest at and we will be in touch with more info.

Just starting out?
Find your nearest waterway and plan your running route on our website.