LDWA Heart of England Forest marathon

helenDistance – 27 miles (advertised as 26) & 15 miles

Runner – Helen Crossland

Approx # Competitors – 142 for 26 miles & 85 for 15 miles

Price - £15 of which £10 was donated to plant a tree with Heart of England Forest

What you have show for it – A certificate for taking part in the event and a tree that will be planted next spring.

Course Description – Starting in the Medieval market town of Henley in Arden with its half timbered buildings and the earthwork remains of "Beaudesert Castle" the route passes through the village of Ullenhall and then the magnificent "Coughton Court" home of the Throckmorton family who were associated with the "gunpowder plot" of 1605.


The shorter route then returns to Henley passing huge swathes of newly planted trees and some of the remnants of the Ancient Forest of Arden in the form of "Bannans Wood" and "Clouse Wood".


The main course continues through the town of Alcester settled first in Roman times, but later chosen by the Marquis of Hertford who built "Ragley Hall" there as the family seat.


The way then skirts Oversley Wood and several more thatched hamlets before arriving at Aston Cantlow. A sharp left turn and in about a mile and a half we rejoin the short route through the swathes of newly planted trees.

Reality of Course Description – A trail route that takes you across fields and woodlands. At around At around 24 miles there’s a big hill but that’s the only big one on the course.


Water and Fuel Stations – 7 miles – water/sweets/cakes, 9.25 miles – tea/coffee/bacon or veggie sandwiches/cake/sweets, 14 miles – water/sweets/cakes, 18.7 miles – water/sweets/cakes, 13.5 Miles for short route and 24 Miles for long route – water/sweets/cakes.

Time of year – First weekend in October

Why I chose this race – The reward of getting a tree planted for taking part and the adventure through beautiful countryside. Plus it was a marathon!

Organisation – Very well organised. Registration and finish in the same location had hot food, more than enough toilets and very friendly volunteers.

Feedback Summary – Loved the event and organisation even though it was a first event for this route. There is a pinchpoint very near the beginning of this route. If you’re at the front it’s not an issue but if you’re slightly slow you’ll get caught in a big queue to get through a kissing gate. STAY OFF the ROAD whilst queuing!!


Will I be back – OH YES

Tips for next time – Be prepared for a cooked sandwich/meal at mile 9. Look for the castle because I think I missed it. Arrive early for on site parking. Sat nav’s lie!! Took me a few minutes to find the school that the sat nav decided was on the other side of town!!


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