The Cranham Beast is a trail event which takes in some of the most hilly, but beautiful, and stunning parts of the Cotswolds. The event gives runners and walkers the opportunity to explore fantastic commonland, diverse woodland, the famous Cheese Rollers Hill (Coopers Hill), get spectacular Cotswold views and visit local villages such as Sheepscombe, Witcombe, Birdlip and of course Cranham.
A trail challenge that’ll make your lungs feel like something is chasing you through the woods!
Back in 2018 in an new format
want to run?
There’s the Baby Beast, a 2.5km Young runners event for under 15s, the Mummy Beast, a 5km run & the Daddy Beast, an exceptionally hilly 7 mile trail race through Witcombe, up Coopers Hill into Cranham Woods, including lots of hills.
“Situated on the edge of the hilly Cotswolds we were running down muddy washed away paths, through corn fields, across meadows, in dark woods and just about every terrain you could imagine. There were steep and long 100m climbs and wonderful views, love to do it again next year.”, Mary Janssen (read review >>>)
Note: The Mummy Beast is the 2nd half of the Daddy Beast
The Daddy Beast: From the start at Buckshead Farm, Cranham, the route heads out to Overtown Farm, across to the Fostons Ash Inn before entering Workmans Woods. Now there is a gradually downhill past the Foston’s Ash Grove and through Pipers Wood, Beech Wood and into the base of the Valley.
So far this Daddy Beast appears to be easy!
Passing the lakes, the course will begin to rise slowly towards Elder Hill, before turning right down into Sheepscombe, followed by a 400ft climb up to to Sheepscombe Cricket Club and into Lords Woods followed directly by Ladys Woods.
The route continues on a steady undulating path passed Saltridge Hill, through Saltridge Common Wood and onto Overtown. Now going down, what locals call “Suicide Hill” before heading up steeply to Cranham Common.
Now a return visit to Overtown Farm and back into Cranham Woods, round the right handside of Laddlecombe to Cranham Lodge and Sawmill.
Mummy Beast: This is where the Mummy Beast merges at about 800m from the start. So crossing the road, enter a field and a spectacular view across the Malvern Hills awaits.
Continuing on, down through Crayfield Farm, picking up the undulating Cotswold Way into Witcombe Woods and on up to Birdlip Hill, the second highest point of the course. Next is a 500ft descent into Great Witcombe, crossing the Witcombe Resevoirs before heading up to the Roman Villas.
Shortly after passing the 2000 year old villas, a climb back up onto the Cotswold Way and heading into Cooper Hill Wood for about 1 mile.
“How steep is that? The famous Cheese Rolling Hill, Coopers Hill”
Luckily, the Beast route takes in the slightly less steep Cotswold Way to the side of Coopers Hill, but only slightly! Once at the top, it’s worth looking back down, what hill people will chase after a cheese for!
This is where the Beast, both Mummy & Daddy get interesting as it may seem like the toughest hills have been completed, however with High Brotheridge, one of the highest points in the Cotswolds to be sumitted in the last few miles of the event, really is a challenge.
Coopers Hill, followed by High Brotheridge is why it’s “the Beast”
With lungs burning, a short descent to the Brotheridge Farm, where Steve Hannis, who kindly gives and prepares the event awards from local Buckholt wood, offers a brief respite before the next hill. The course now crosses Buckholt road and heads down to the fallen tree.
The fallen Tree
“I was running along here back in 2012, when after a big storm, a tree had fallen, blocking the footpath. Initially with groups of runners we would go underneath assuming that it would be removed one day. 4 years later it is still there and users of the Woods have created a new path around the side of the tree and it has become a navigational tool within the woods“, explains running guide, Simon Barnes
With the last few miles left, there is the challenge of Monks Ditch, the Stream and the final climb out of Buckholt and Cranham Woods, up to the finish at Buckshead Farm.
You will now have time to take a deep breath, realise what you have just achieved and reflect on a very varied event, with some amazing, wildlife rich Woodland, spectacular views, pieces of history and local legends such as the famous Cheese Rolling.