Meanwood Valley Trail Run

Starting in Headingley, this route showcases the best parts of the Meanwood Valley Trail.


Elevation gain:215m

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If you are looking for nature, muddy paths, and woodland then this is the route for you!

Starting and ending in Headingley it shows off the best bits of the Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve. And avoids the crowds when it reaches Golden Acre Park.

Wanting to find your way to the start of the route? Here is a link for a Google Maps Directions page.

This route has a distance of 13.1km and an elevation gain of 215m.

The largest non-stop incline begins in the second third of of the route, and has a distance of 504m and an elevation gain of 28m. You can see this on the above elevation chart in red.

The largest continual decline is 348m long with an elevation drop of 15m which starts near the end of the route. This is shown on the chart as green.

Route Highlights

The route cuts away from taking you around Golden Acre Park. However, if you are looking to extend the run into the 14km plus range? You're in beautiful surroundings in Golden Acre.

Best Time To Run

Running this route anytime of the year can be a real treat. The halfway point of the run is Golden Acre Park. The phenomenal parkland has 179 acres of plant and animal life.

Route Description

This run route goes up through Scotland Wood, Adel Woods, and finally reaches Golden Acre Park. The return leg is a steady decline back down the Otley Road (A660).

Start off just outside of The Bowery in Headingley, and weaves down Shaw Lane and School Lane until it reaches the path for the Meanwood Valley Trail. From this point onwards the route is signposted with yellow Meanwood Valley Trail Owl markers.  You then pass through the woodland, across Headingley Gold Course and up to Golden Acre Park. The route from Headingley to Golden Acre is a fairly continual incline. A real burn.

The way home is a little less exciting, a gradual decline down the Otley Road, finishing back where you started.


As with all woodland, be careful as it can be muddy and slippery when wet. There are also areas with exposed stone and roots.

We would recommend trail shoes for this run as it is an ever changing terrain. Trail shoes differ significantly from road-running shoes, as they have far more protection against rocks and roots. The tread is more prominent as well which offers more traction.

With this being a 14km run it is also worth thinking about carrying more water. Especially if you run this on a hot day.


The Meanwood Valley Trail is a gem that starts at Woodhouse Moor in Hyde Park and follows the Meanwood Beck through Headingley, Meanwood and Adel. It is a waymarked footpath and is a distance of 7 miles (11km) in total. Almost entirely away from roads it is a great place for an afternoon out.

For more information about the Meanwood Valley Trail we recommend taking a look at the Meanwood Valley Trail Guide.

If you like running in this area, why not take a look at some other routes in similar areas. This route went through: Headingley.

More after this. Continue reading below ↓


Toilets can be found at the beginning of the route around the Wood Lane – Headingley Lane junction – at one of the numerous cafes and pubs.

Once on the route there is another toilet located at Meanwood Park café, and then some at Golden Acre Park – both inside the café!


There is plenty of parking in Headingley. However to be close to the start of the route we would recommend using the paid parking at St Anne’s Car Park opposite The Bowery. Alternatively, you may do just as well on a residential street off Otley Road.

Food and Drink

As the route begins and ends in Headingley, the world is your oyster. If you are looking for a post-run coffee and snack we suggest Loaf Far Headingley. A super friendly place that does a great selection of food and drink.

If you are looking for a bite to eat at the half way point, there is a café near the entrance off the A660.

Other Running Routes Nearby

Looking for other routes near Meanwood Valley Trail Run? Here are three just around the corner.