Woodwose 1’s Report

 Hail Gaveller

I, Chris Smart, of 6 Chestnut Road, Long Ashton, member of Nailsea Running Club, hereby submit my report on completion of the Green Man Challenge.

Being in need of some good endurance training, in advance of the OMM later this month, the Green Man Challenge, which I had encountered via the TACH website, seemed an ideal solution as the Community Forest Path passes within a bough’s length of Long Ashton.  So, yesterday, Sunday 30th September 2007, I set off from Chestnut Road at 08:30 to attempt the Challenge.  I was running alone, without any support runners, carrying clothing, food, first aid kit ( as I will have to on the OMM) but in mobile phone contact with my support team (aka wife).

I joined the Challenge route at the first road crossing on Leg 2 and reached Dundry Car Park without navigational difficulty, having done many runs in this area.  The Dundry to Pensford leg was mainly new to me but I found the the route description to be very accurate, with the Off Forest Path section, coming in to Pensford, proving to be very pleasant along the river.

Leg 4 went pretty well for me – the weather was brightening up and I was feeling good.  The sections along the river are very pretty.  I had a slight misnavigation around Albert Mill but with the aid of the map, soon got back on course.  On leg 5, the route description was invaluable when leaving the railway path.  After leaving Cherry Orchard Farm, I think I missed the right turn on the route description and ended up at Shortwood Golf Club – however, with the aid of my map I was able to navigate on the footpaths through the golf course to rejoin the Community Forest Path without adding on too much distance.

No misnavigation on leg 6 – maybe my concentration was focussed by a desire to get to Hambrook before the pub closed.  The White Horse provided a welcome break for a pint (orange juice and tonic, unfortunately) and some sandwiches before I started on what I considered to be the homeward stretch with leg 7.  The first part of this leg was new to me but it soon brought me to familiar territory, as I work at Aztec West and run at luchtime in the vicinity.  The familiarity extended to the start of leg 8, as I often go on runs over the motorway footbridge.  Spaniorum Hill proved a bit of a slog at this point and I got somewhat confused after hitting the track through the kissing gate as the left way was barred by large gates – I soon realised that the 550m field corner (not 2sb) instruction meant that the left turn was by the 2sb not at the end of the field through the kg, as I was attempting to do – just as well the gates were there or I may have headed off the wrong way.  The rest of the leg to Blaise car park was straightforward and there was just the final leg for me to do.

Another climb to the ridge took it out of the legs but once up there, I managed to plod on to the footbridge.  Once Sea Mills was behind, the climb up on to the Downs was walked all the way.  But once on the Downs and again into familiar territory, the legs were forced into running (well trotting) again.  Over the Suspension Bridge, I resisted the temptation to carry straight on and did the North Road, mountain bike track loop. And then there he was – the Green Man!

A quick pat on his head and then back to the route – it was dark now and the closeness of home was appealing.  Past the Mansion, across the sports pitches, past the Dovecote and I was back to the point on the Challenge route that I had started from just under 11.5 hours earlier.  A final plod across the field to the Angel and the running was over – my wife picked me up from there.

My GPS registered 48.6 miles and it was 11 hours 38 mins since I had left home.  I enjoyed discovering many parts of Bristol that I not previously encountered and the Challenge certainly provided the endurance training that I was in need of.  The Community Forest Path is well marked throughout much of its length and the route description had proved to be very accurate.

Thanks for the Green Man Challenge.

Chris Smart

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