The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Wiltshire Downs Adventure Race


Course Conditions

Information about the course area and conditions for the 2018 Wiltshire Downs Adventure Race.


Staying Safe in Warm Weather

It's forecast to be a hot one on Saturday with temperatures in the high twenties. When exercising in the heat you can lose a lot of fluids quickly - 1 litre an hour is not uncommon - and you may not even realise you are losing this much if there is a warm breeze. This fluid needs replacing together with associated salts and minerals.

Each person should carry a minimum of 1 litre of water with them when they set out on both the Trail Run and the Mountain Biking.

It is also important not to over hydrate. Drinking only water to re-hydrate without replacing sodium lost through sweating, dilutes the few minerals left in your body even further. You should therefore consider adding electrolyte type tablets or something similar to your water.

Keep an eye on your team members and, if you are concerned, stop, drink, cool down and rest. If you are participating on your own, then think about your own condition a bit more than you normally do. The signs of heat exhaustion include headache, dizziness & confusion, feeling sick, cramps, fast breathing and pulse, intense thirst. Keep a look out for these during the day. If you see these symptoms in yourself or a team member, then try and find some shade, drink some water, lie down-maybe with feet raised slightly, sprinkle water over body and clothing, and use the emergency numbers on your map to let us know.

Remember, the prime reason for taking part is to enjoy yourself. You may therefore want to go a bit slower than you normally do, to cope with the warm weather. Better to finish in a good state than end up in hospital with heat stroke.

Water will be available at the transition points for you to refill / top up throughout the day i.e. at the beginning and end of your Trail Run, Mountain Biking and Kayaking. You should also consider wearing a sun hat whilst running and kayaking, and make sure you have plenty of sunscreen. There is not much shade up on the Wiltshire Downs.


General Notes

Although it rained heavily for about half an hour in Wiltshire today (Wedenesday) this did nothing to soften the firm ground. With warm tempertures and no more rain forecast for the coming days, the ground is expected to be baked hard on race day.

One or two of the paths and bridleways are overgrown in places. We have avoided the worst areas, but you may still encounter one or two overgrown sections. If you do, have a look around to see if there is a parrallel route along the edge of a neighbouring field - often when public rights of way between two fields become overgrown everyone uses the edge of one of the adjacent fields instead. Rememeber you must not climb over any fences but if there is a gap in the hedge with a clear route that other people have taken then this is OK to use unless signs or someone tells you otherwise.

You may wish to consider carrying full leg cover (e.g. a pair of over trousers that you can slip on) just in case you encounter a patch of unavoidable stinging nettles.

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, please try not to disturb the livestock. Proceed with caution around livestock where present. Do not run. Do not get in between the cows and their calves.

Some routes are well signed so look out for these signs to help you. Others are not signed at all so you will need to read the map carefully.


Trail Run

During the Trail Run you must stick to public rights of way. The nature of the trails varies widely and the canal towpath is no exception - some sections are a wide smooth all weather surface whilst others are narrow and very uneven. On the whole the trails are either bare earth or covered in grass - mostly short grass but their is also some long wild grass along one or two.

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

The ground is generally firm but there may be one or two soft muddy trails in amongst the trees / woods (where they take longer to dry out and where water seeps from the ground) and there are some short, steep grassy sections. Trail shoes with a decent tread are therefore recommended.

Most of the Trail Run takes place off road but there are one or two short sections where you will be on the road / pavement. You may only walk / run along A-roads where there are pavements. Where there are no pavements present you may only cross the A-roads at the points shown on your map.


Mountain Biking

Bikes are only permitted on roads, byways and bridleways. The byways range from well maintained gravel tracks through to semi-overgrown routes, 4x4 tracks etched in the marl and rutted farm tracks. Take care when cycling through the long grass on some routes as it hides the deep ruts which will through you off balance.

Similarly the bridleways vary widely from hard wide gravel surfaces at one end of the spectrum to softer narrow semi-overgrown trails at the other. Surfaces are uneven in places with tree roots and other debris covering them.

The byways and bridleways are on the whole firm and generally provide a good hard surface on which to ride. There are one or two wet and muddy patches in amongst the trees / woods where the tracks don't ever seem to dry out and other sections become quite soft and claggy after a heavy downpour. But on the whole the off road sections are quite fast.

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 on steep descents. Keep within your technical riding capabilities. It's much safer to dismount if you are uncertain. You shouldn't have to worry about what this road sign is warning of.



The kayaking takes place on the Kennet & Avon canal.

Access to the water is via the side of the wharf. It is quite a long way down to the water so we advise you use the single low step down near the road bridge. The best way to get on the water is to sit on the side of the wharf / low step, put your feet on the kayak (which is on the water) and 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.



View all the photos taken on past recce's of the course area here


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