The Harold Wood Round is a fantastic circular route of Harold Wood incorporating the most scenic footpaths and trail routes in the area. Barely any sections are on road and so trail shoes are advised. The first half visits all the main parks in Havering and the second half provides the opportunity to view the city of London from the highest point in the area.
The Harold Wood Round is a culmination of many years of running cross-country routes in and around the London borough of Havering, centering on Harold Wood, the home of Harold Wood Running Club. HWRC was formed in 2015 to provide a fun, sociable group for runners in the area, regardless of ability or fitness levels. The club meet most nights throughout the year and all sessions are led by UKA qualified run leaders with groups suitable for all paces and distances. Every Sunday we meet in Harold Wood Park for our long runs which range from 5 miles to 20 miles and beyond. We have a strong group of runners who regularly train for long distance events and have trodden the trails of the Harold Wood Round in parts, for many years. Until recently, the southern section that links Upminster to Hornchurch Country Park was impossible to run between because of a narrow country lane. In 2019, in conjunction with Land of the Fanns, Havering Council and the Forestry Commission, a brand new footpath was built which now allows access between these two areas, without the need to run on any roads, making it safe and accessible for walkers, runners and cyclists. Because of the creation of this missing link, the Harold Wood Round has now been made possible and when published will be used as a route for all adventurers to tackle and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Havering countryside.
The route starts off in Harold Wood Park which is a hive of community sporting activities. The first section travels through Pages Wood, and follows the river Ingrebourne south through Craham to Corbets Tey. From Corbets Tey the next section is entirely off road until you summit Ingrebourne Hill, locally known as snake hill with views across London and the Thames. From here the route travels west to pick up another river valley, called the Beam. Heading north the paths take you through Eastendbrook Country Park & Harrow Lodge Country Park, until re-joining the road to visit some of Haverings most picturesque parks called Raphaels and Lodge Farm. The second half of the round is more physically challenging, starting off with an ascent through Bedford's Park and summiting at Havering Atte Bower. From here you follow farmers fields and pick up the London Loop walking route, all the way to Noak Hill. Following signs through Dagenham Park, the path disappears under the M25 and briefly heads into the Essex countryside, emerging at Weald Country Park and Warley Country Park. The final 2.5km ascent takes you into Warley, passing the Thatcher's pub for a brief refreshment before taking in the stunning panoramic views of London from Folkes Lane and descending back into Pages Wood for the finish back at Harold Wood Park.
The Harold Wood Round has been designed as a challenge for the running community and for members of HWRC to have a go at and test their running ability over the varied and challenging terrain. With more attempts at the route, we will create a FKT leader board for all runners to have a go at and test their running skills. Enjoy! Josh Jenner (HWRC Club Captain)