The Pebblebed heaths are amazing locations for running and we’re hugely lucky to be able to use this location for one of our races. A lot of the paths we will use are ideal for trail running being wide and reasonably good footing (though watch out for larger stones). There are still enough interesting and technical bits to keep it fun and challenging including bits of mud and water. Although unless there’s been a lot of rain there’s normally a board walk available where there’s water present as most areas drain really well. The course is fairly undulating and has a few short sharp ramps to. The race HQ is a modern Equestrian centre and has plenty of toilets and showers.
The Pebblebed heaths are amongst the most important conservation sites in Europe due to the rarity of the habitats and species supported. The Pebblebed Heaths have been occupied by people since at least the Bronze Age, when turf cutting, burning and grazing helped turn the once wooded area into the sweeping open landscape that we love today. Though semi-natural, heathlands have high wildlife value and support species that are rarely found elsewhere. Heathlands are now so rare in Europe that there is a particular need to protect those few areas that remain to ensure the survival of this distinctive landscape, as well as the specialised species that depend on this habitat. For more information on the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust please visit http://www.pebblebedheaths.org.uk/
The Pebbledbed Heaths Conservation Trust encourage sustainable recreational use of the heaths and value public enjoyment of the area and the connections people make with the landscape. We are pleased to be working with Flying Fox Running to enable people to experience the heaths in a different way. The nightjar, from which the race takes it’s name, is one of our key species on the Pebblebed Heaths. An iconic bird that returns from Africa each summer to breed and raise young on the heaths. These nocturnal birds can been seen on summer evenings hawking for food and the unusual churring song of the males creates waves of sound across the heaths.
Woodbury Common, one of the commons through which we will race has a spectacular iron age hill fort at the north of the site. It’s referred to as a cathedral of Birch due to the mature trees which now cover it. Currently the Commons are for training by marines from the nearby commando base. The 1549 battle of Woodbury Common took place there, this was a part of the Prayer Book rebellion. When Devon and Cornwall revolted after the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer. A move deeply unpopular in majority Catholic areas. The Duke of Somerset sent an army of German and Italian mercenaries to put down the revolt.
The race is starts and finishes at Bicton Arena. With a short run through the cross country course and onto a country lane before reaching the start of the Commons which comprise the Pebbled Heaths. A similar route is used to return to the Arena towards the end of the race once the sections on the Pebbled Heaths are complete.
There will be at least one aid station on the 5 mile course and two on the 9 1/4 miles.
The course will be well marked with plenty of signs with reflective elements, reflective course markings and lights to guide you around.
Terrain varies from small bits of tarmac, a lot of pebble paths as well as mud paths some exposed rocks and a fair amount of grass. With the time of year we’d expect trail shoes to be a good idea but watch the group Facebook page for updates in the week of the race.
You will need to wear a head torch to race and carry spare batteries or a backup torch, a limited number of which will be available to hire or buy on the night. We recommend emailing to book.
All finishers will receive a finishers medal for the 5 or 9 1/4 miles.
Age limits 17 and above for 5 miles, 18 and above for 9 1/4 miles.
Time Limit 2h for 9 1/4 miles
Race Limit 300 (combined total)
5 miles is £21 affiliated or £23 unaffiliated
9 1/4 miles £23 affiliated or £25 unaffiliated
Canicross – Yes, 20 places, starts at 7:25 before the two main races
Parking is at Bicton Arena and is plentiful but please lift share where possible.
The arena has a good shower and toilet block which can be used by runners before and after the event.
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