The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Wiltshire Downs Q2 Adventure Race

 

Course Conditions

Information about the course area and its condition for the adventure race on 7 & 8 October 2017

 

Summary Notes

It is quite wet underfoot! It's not wet everywhere though. There are plenty of good firm tracks and trails up on the chalk downs and the mountain biking makes good use of these. But venture down off these into the wooded valleys and the trails can soon become muddy and slippery. Expect ankle deep mud in places on the trail run for at least one of the stages!

The season for stinging nettles is coming to an end so they are not that prevalent, and their stings are not so strong at this time of year. That said, there are short nettles (below knee height) in the long grass in one or two places. And along one or two of the lesser used paths the nettles have started to wilt across the trail. Long socks / leg wear / gaiters are therefore recommended if you don't want to get stung.

Some routes are well signed. As well as fingerposts at trail junctions look out for waymarker discs on posts and stiles along the way to help you. Other routes are not signed at all so you will need to read the map carefully.

There are livestock in some of the fields and on the Downs so please make sure you shut all gates and properly fasten them behind you. For your safety, if you find yourself in a field of suddenly wary cattle...

  • move away as carefully and quietly as possible
  • don't run as the cattle are likely to start running as well (the faster a person moves, the faster the cattle will chase behind)
  • stay near a hedge or fence if possible
  • stay quiet and calm so as not to spook the animals

For more info and advice see taking care around cows and what to do when walking in a field with cattle

 

Trail Run

During the Trail Run you must stick to public rights of way at all times. On the whole the trails are either bare earth / mud or covered in grass - both short grass and also some long field grass that holds the morning dew for most of the morning at this time of year.

You should not cut across open access land or open grassland - please remain on formed pathstracks at all times.

The ground is firm in some areas but there are soft muddy trails in amongst the trees / woods (where they don't dry out) and there are some short, steep grassy sections which can be slippery when wet. Trail (or even fell) shoes with a decent tread are therefore recommended.

Most of the Trail Running takes place off road but there will be a couple of times where you will be on minor roads / pavement. You are not allowed to walk/run along A or B roads for any significant distance (for more than 500m at a time), and you must use pavements if present.

 

Mountain Biking

Bikes are only permitted on roads, byways and bridleways. The byways range from well maintained gravel tracks through to grass covered rutted tracks. Take care when cycling through the long grass as it hides deep ruts on some routes which will throw you off balance. Also take care on any hard baked ground as this is often greasy / slippery especially when damp / wet.

Similarly the bridleways vary widely from hard wide stony surfaces at one end of the spectrum to softer narrow semi-overgrown trails at the other. Grassy surfaces are common along some of the bridleways whilst others are narrow and a little overgrown in places. Surfaces can be uneven with tree roots (slippery) exposed in places. There are also a couple of fallen trees so watch out for these and other debris causing obstructions.

The Mt biking courses have been designed to give the best riding experience and therefore deliberately avoid the worst of the wet / muddy / overgrown bridleways or those with lots of gates along them.

The terrain varies widely and includes some busy roads and narrow lanes. Take care. Always expect to find oncoming traffic around the next corner. Moderate your speed around others and on descents, and give way to cyclists coming uphill. Keep within your technical riding capabilities. It's much safer to dismount if you are uncertain.

 

Kayaking

The kayaking takes place on the Kennet & Avon canal.

Access to the water is via the towpath / side of the canal. It is quite a long way down to the water. The best way to get on the water is to put your kayak on the water, sit on the side of the canal with your feet on the kayak and then swivel your bum round and down onto the middle of the kayak, keeping your weight low so you don't unbalance it.

Once on the water, there is no need to get off until you have finished kayaking - all the kayak checkpoints can be reached from your kayak and there are no portages around locks etc.

 

Photos

View all the photos taken on recent recce's showing different parts of the course here

 

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