The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Berkshire Adventure Race


Course Conditions

Information about the course area and trail conditions for the 2019 Berkshire Adventure Race.

General Notes

Although it's forecast to be dry and warm on race day, some of the trails in the woods where the ground is shaded from the sun may still be damp / wet in places.

On the whole the ground is firm (and is expected to remain so), however the surface of some of the smaller trails quickly become slippery when wet.

Watch out, slow down and give way to other people and animals. Parts of the course area are popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders so expect some of the trails to be busy with other members of the public out and about. A bike bell is strongly recommended so you can warn others of your approach.

There are also a few fields with livestock in them. Please make sure gates are both shut and properly fastened behind you, so animals do not escape from where they are supposed to be.

The vast majority of the trails are clear but vegetation does encroach on one or two of the lesser used trails. We didn't encounter anything that was very overgrown / impassable when we did the final recce last week but we did encounter the odd stray stinging nettle so you may wish to wear long socks or carry leg protection with you just in case.

Trail Run

The trail run takes place on a whole range of different surfaces, including roads and pavements, gravel and dirt tracks, bare earth and muddy paths, grassy fields and wild meadows of long grass.

You will be in woods or on tree-lined tracks for a significant proportion of the trail run which will give some protection from the sun. However, there are also parts of the course where you will be in open fields that offer little in the way of shade, so make sure you have adequate protection and carry sufficient water with you.

When on roads, you should use pavements if present and if not, you should run single file, keep in to the side and face the on coming traffic.

When off road you must stick to public rights of way and other permitted routes at all times (see key on course map for details). The Trail Run is exactly that - a run on TRAILS. And whilst you don't necessarily have to run - you can trek if you want to - you do have to stay on the trails, including when on open access land. This is very important to avoid damage to sensitive habitats and protected species within the course area.

The paths are generally well kept where they cross agricultural land and well signed everywhere else so keep an eye out for waymarkers and fingerposts to keep you on the right track, though in a couple of places you have to look carefully to see these as they have been all but consumed by the vegetation. Also keep an eye out for other temporary notices and follow them where applicable.

Some of the public footpaths go through church grounds and graveyards. Please be courteous and respectful if you choose to use these routes.

Take care when crossing stiles and when on board walks. Many are in a poor state of repair with lots missing / rotten boards, and nearly all are slippery when damp / wet.

Mountain Biking

Bikes are only allowed on roads, byways, and bridleways. Taking your bike on footpaths, or any other unmarked trail is against the law and is therefore strictly forbidden - there are no excuses - pay attention to the information on the map and the signs on the ground. Make sure you know the difference between footpaths and bridleways. Look out for fingerposts and waymarker posts to keep you on the right track.

The majority of the mountain biking is on a combination of minor roads and gravel tracks that provide good off-road riding in all weather. Many of the dirt tracks are byways and whilst they tend to have a firm base, off road vehicles have made them uneven and rutted in places which results in large puddles accummulating along them after heavy rain.

The bridleways vary signifcantly. Those that follow tracks (vehicle / forest tracks) tend to be similar to the aforementioned byways whilst those that don't can be harder work and slower going. Generally, the wooded sections tend to be the roughest what with tree roots and slippery surfaces where the ground is wet (and the odd fallen tree), and hard-baked uneven mud where the ground is dry.

Cyclists are required by law to give way to walkers and horse riders on bridleways. Please make sure you do this and that you slow down / stop when passing horse riders.

When on roads, always cycle single file (apart from being considerate to others, it's more efficient) and keep into the left-hand side so that vehicles can pass when it's safe for them to do so. Some of the roads are rat-runs and others are narrow - moderate your speed accordingly and take extra care at sharp bends / busy road junctions.

Kayaking

The kayaking takes place on a stretch of moving water - it may not be moving much but it is noticeable when you come to paddle against it!

Parts of the waterway are open and offer little protection from the elements. These sections are particularly susceptible to the wind which often combines with the gentle flow of the water making it twice as difficult to paddle upstream.

Access to the water is via a mooring platform on the side of waterway. It's quite a step down onto the water, so best to put the kayak on the water first, then sit on the edge of the bank with your feet on the kayak and gently swing your bottom round and down onto the kayak.

You shouldn't need to paddle under this low bridge but you may need to watch your head (and paddle blades) if you venture beyond this swing bridge - there should be plenty of room to safely glide underneath it but if you do need to duck your head make sure you lean back (do not duck your head forward).

Look out for and keep well away from all weirs and sluices - one weir and set of sluices is under this footbridge (in the distance) - when passing, stay on the other side of the channel to avoid getting dragged in. Follow the navigational signs for all craft along the channels which bypass the weirs.

Access to the kayak transition by vehicle is strictly prohibited. Any spectators wishing to see the kayaking should park at the event base and walk the short distance to the waterway. The kayak transition will get very busy at times so spectators are kindly asked to keep well out of the way of participants getting on and off the water.

Photos

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


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