In Cambridge, believe it or not, there's more to parks than just Parker's Piece, the Backs and Midsummer Common. Well, don't get too excited - it's not that much!
Except for the view of King's College which is found on every postcard, the Backs offer not much in terms of running excitement. Certainly most suitable for an easy morning jog if you are living in one of the adjacent Colleges.
Due to its proximity very popular, though not terribly exciting. Also favourite training ground of the Hare and Hounds for their morning runs and long rep sessions. Midsummer Common is distincively more "rural" than the Green. Watch your step and be prepared for a weird encounter of the cow kind.
In short: nice for cricket and similar lawn-based activities but much too boring for running. In summer, extremely popular amongst foreign language students.
On both sides of the River Cam, Coe Fen stretches from the Mill down to the Leys School. The open ground south of Fen Causeway and west of the river is known as Lammas Land. Both parks make a very nice area for a little jog, even though Fen Causeway which cuts through the middle of it can spoil it a bit.
I wouldn't have thought they like runners in there. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful garden worth seeing when you're in that kind of mood (or when you don't know where to go with your parents - the gardens at Madingley Hall are also recommended, by the way.) Occasionally, entry is free of charge during the week.
A small wood on the west side of the river immediately south of Lammas Land and Coe Fen. Nice for a run in combination with Coe Fen or out to Grantchester Meadows. If you enjoy getting stuck in a five-foot bramble bush, then go off the paths - it's great!
This is the only common that features a hill (at the east end)! Should just running be too boring for you, count the number of fences - you'll be surprised how many one can put onto one common. And in case you have ever wondered where Cambridge Airport was, it's across the road from Coldham's Common.
Located south of the River Cam at Chesterton and towards Fen Ditton, the common and the meadows are very enjoyable. Parts of it tend to be soggy and you run the danger of getting wet feet if you don't keep to the paths. For the same reason, avoid running through the high grass in the mornings.
Kind of cute and small. Shame there isn't more of it. Unless you live in the area, it's not worth the trip. However, it is well worth going if you combine it with the:
The Chalkpit and the small nature reserve to the north of it is the closest you can get in terms of broken ground and hilly terrain (but for real hill training it is frankly too small). Unfortunately, with its 60 feet abysses, it is also very dangerous and is not fenced off with barbed wire for no reason. You have been warned.
The author cannot be held responsible for any kind of injuries, trespassing violations, or anything else occurring in connection with following the stated routes. Anyone may do so only on their own risk.