Forest of Dean 10k

I ran this race last year, when it was called the Skechers trail run.  New sponsor this year, so new name - Salming trail run. The course had changed slightly, bringing it to 10.5k (with 2 and 4 lap options added if you wanted to run a half/full marathon).  There was also a 5k option, and before the main race started, a 1km kids route.

The weather was warm and dry and sunny!  Last year I ran the (downhill) first 3km a bit too quickly, and this year I intentionally did the same as I knew the hill in the second... continue reading »

Forest of Dean 10k

Or, for a possibly more official name, "Skechers Performance 10k Trail Run".  Who knows.

I'm sure I've mentioned many times before how much I love the Forest of Dean.  This run was on fireroads and decent forest paths, and on a warm sunny day that meant no mud on my shoes.  Lovely.  There were around 200 runners (plus others doing 5k/1k), and a choice of medal colours.  I went for the one that didn't involve any pink...

Starting at the Speech House field, the route headed to Mallard's Pike.  Downhill!  I also started off too fast (not a surprise).

Once over the lake,... continue reading »

running the sculpture trail

As previously mentioned, I've got a 10k coming up.  The majority of my "training" runs have been on flat pavement, so last weekend I decided I should probably at least pretend to acclimatise a bit.

I decided to pop over to the Forest of Dean and run the Sculpture Trail.  I could have made a route out of any amount of fire roads, but chose this route because it's signposted, I know it well, and it has two newish artworks I hadn't seen yet (which I could use as a convenient excuse to stop and get my breath back!)

One thing I... continue reading »

lots of biking

Both of my bikes have actually been getting some use over the last month or so, which makes a nice change as I'd got lazy about my cycling again.

Following an incident with some broken glass, my road bike is now running brand new tyres.  I've been breaking these in (and reminding myself why I love road cycling) with some shorter rides, including popping into Gloucester to watch the Tour of Britain come through. My new workplace is definitely in cycling distance (and, unlike the previous place, doesn't involve running the gauntlet of lorries at 50mph) so I've done that once... continue reading »

Charcoal Measure and Sentient Forest

Following the removal of 'Place', the Forest of Dean Sculpture trail has recently gained two new (temporary) artworks.

Both are right at the start of the trail at Beechenhurst Lodge.

First up is "Charcoal Measure".  It's basically a series of black lines on the ground, made from charcoal produced from burning the wood that made up Place.  The lines map old coal mine workings in the forest.  So that's two ways it links up with the history of the local area.

However the work itself is a little underwhelming.  It had been there for about six weeks when I visited, and is already... continue reading »


Perhaps the most iconic part of the Forest sculpture trail, last week Place was taken down.  It had been there since 1986, and had to be taken down because it had become too unstable.

Obviously this is a shame, as the 'Giant's Chair' is well loved.  But it was originally only supposed to exist for a year, and one of the charms of the sculpture trail is that things do evolve, rot, get reclaimed by nature etc.  Parts of the chair have been burned for charcoal, and I believe two of the legs have been left for wildlife.

This photo is from... continue reading »

More forest biking

Dry autumn days are possibly my favourite time to go for wanderings on my mountain bike.  Last weekend I headed into the Forest of Dean (as usual), but decided to make an effort to find some bits I've not previously explored.

I dug out my trusty Cycling Guides map, and decided on the "Forest Adventurer" Blakeney loop, starting from Mallards Pike.  Plus whatever extra bits I felt like adding on afterwards, which turned out to be a slightly scenic route to Cinderford (one detour intentional, another not so much), then along the road through the town, and back to the start... continue reading »

Forest Warrior

I'm still not entirely sure how it happened, but in January I found myself agreeing to do the Forest Warrior - a 10k mud/obstacle race - as part of a team at work.

2.5 months of denial and half arsed "training" later six of us dragged ourselves through a lot of mud, climbed over walls, scrambled in and out of ditches, carried tyres up and down hills, crawled and swam through various depths of water, and ran/jogged/walked the bits in between.  Oh, and got shot at with paintballs (but none of us were hit, hurrah)

We were not quick.  GPS traces suggest... continue reading »

slalom at the Yat

I think it's safe to say that canoe slalom isn't my cup of tea - I got beaten by small children at a couple of div 4 events several years ago, and did one interclubs, but in general I prefer my paddling without the competitive element (and definitely without the pushy parents).

But when CCC's slalom enthusiasts decided it was about time an event happened at Symonds Yat again, it was with the understanding that the whole club would be expected to help out, not just the stick chasers.  Not a problem!

Vast amounts of planning, organisation and general stress later, we... continue reading »

forest cycling

I bought a new map recently - the Cycling Guides map of 'leisure routes' in the Forest of Dean.  Featuring the family trail (which is signposted anyway) but also two other routes with full directions, as well as highlighting lots of other bike friendly shortcuts, links and general forest tracks.  Oh, and various pubs, car parks and museums.

Apparently it's tearproof and waterproof, but without feeling at all plasticy.  I haven't had to test this out yet, as the weather has been lovely! (and let's be honest, I'm unlikely to be out on the bike if it's raining and manky)

Last Sunday... continue reading »

two lots of cycling, a walk, and some overpriced Pimm's

The final weekend of July (a five weekend month!) was a busy one, even by my standards.

On Friday evening I headed over to see the parents, who provided food and a lift into town so I could see the mighty Goldie Lookin' Chain playing the festival.  Which was generally rather entertaining.  I was less amused at the cost of a small cup of Pimm's from the bar mind you...

On Saturday I ticked off a bit more of the Wye.  Monmouth to Symonds Yat (and back again), on my bike via the Peregrine Path.  A really nice cycle route actually -... continue reading »