Would everyone who recce's this route be kind enough to send a report of the accuracy of the description and map back to the organisers or 01225 708 432
The route (select Satelite view) from Marlborough follows the Wansdyke Path / White Horse Trail, through Short Oak Copse, Clatford Park Farm, Daffy Close to Heath Plantation, passing through West Woods. The White Horse Relay then bears South to Gopher Wood, past a Reservoir along the Tan Hill Way and stops just before the road at Knap Hill.
See a virtual run using photos.
The waymarking has been greatly improved this year.
The start is at the beginning of Preshute Lane in the village.
Run along Preshute Lane towards the church, at the church bear right and run up the pathway "Marlborough College Nature Trail" until you come to a gate. Pass through the gate and run up the next field until you see, on your right, a sign "PRIVATE PROPERTY". Continue straight on, through the trees, up the hill. At the top bear right between the trees.
Soon you come to two stiles which you must cross and enter into another meadow.
Or at least it used to be a meadow ...
It has been roughly ploughed in the last couple of weeks (reported 13th September) and it is quite difficult underfoot. However it is not impassable. You may choose to go all the way around the outside of the field to avoid the rough terrain.
Now continue across this field towards the trees in the distance at the brow of the hill where, on your right, you will see another stile which you cross. A 'jump' has been recently inserted into the fence to the right of the stile making it must easier to cross. Keep the hedge on your left and the field on your right. The track bears right between the two fields until it reaches a road. Turn left onto the road and proceed about 125 metres until you can turn right onto a track. Continue along this track between the trees as it bears first right then curves back to the left.
Where you should come to another stile, it is very difficult to find. (A bit overgrown)
I did find it and when I got to the stile was met by a very friendly bullock.
Some people might not like that so here is an alternative route:
Continue along the hedge, keeping it on the right, pass the small field of maze (keeping to the left of it) and continue until you come to a large gap in the hedge/trees (on your right). Enter and turn immediately left. You are now back on the correct track.
Be careful of large deep badger holes in the ground.
After about 300 metres this track will lead to an open field. Here, there is a track to the left and a smaller track which descends diagonally down across the field. Take this (smaller) track and soon you will come to another stile. [see an alternative route] Cross it and turn left and go through the gap (on the right) in the trees. Run along the top of this meadow keeping the trees just to your left until you come to a stile. Continue until you see a gate on the left. [You meet the alternative route here] Follow the path through the woods until you see a stile in the middle of the footpath.
Here there is a sunken path on the right which leads down a lane. Follow this until you reach a road.
We are now at Clatford Park Farm, Short Oak Copse and Fosbury Copse.
There should be a marshal at the entry to the wood.
(Note that if you haven't checked out your stage in advance you could easily get lost in this wood.)
Turn right and run along the road for about 50 metres when you should see, on your left, a post bearing the White Horse Trail sign. Follow this track uphill and you will see another marker. Turn left and after another 100 metres there will be a large junction of tracks with a ditch coming up from the field on your left. Bear right on to the main track.
If you get lost when doing your recce before the race, try this: On the way into the woods, look for a blue 'White Horse Trail' sign. Go uphill and you will come to another blue 'White Horse Trail' sign and a 'Public Way' sign. You are now on the correct track. Here there are several paths. Take the larger path to the left. (If you were to go right you would soon come to another Y junction showing the public track to the right along a smaller track. - GO BACK!) So I repeat, take the larger path to the left.
Follow this track and after another 100 metres there will be a large junction of tracks with a ditch coming up from the field on your left. Bear right onto the main track. Keep to this track and it should be about 1.2 km further on before we see the next field. Turn right on to a gravel track still just in the wood (on the right), keeping the field on the left. Run down this track when, just before it rises again, you will see a wide junction of tracks. Turn left here and follow the track between the trees. As you climb up the hill the trees on your left thin out and there is a fence to your left.
For those of you doing recce's you might find this track completely over-grown and covered in nettles. Wiltshire Highways have promised to clear it before the event. There is an alternative route, using the fields to the West (right) of the path, but that would not be an official Right of Way.
When you reach a junction with a gate on the right and a track on the left (which also has a gate visible a bit further up) turn right, through the gate, and run up the hill along a grassy track until you reach another gate and stile. Cross the stile and go left around the field with a small wood (Gopher Wood) on your left. Near the top you will pass through another gate and aim for the trees at the top of the hill.
Follow the grassy path staying at the top of the ridge. Do not go downhill. Follow this ridgeway (Tan Hill Way) for about 1 km until you come to a gate (and metal stile). You will pass over three of these metal stiles and a pond. The finish of this stage is at the bottom of the slope and Knap Hill car park is to your right.
Description of this stage with photos | List of all the stages of this Relay Race