May 2013

Today the guys from Andy Frost Design were in to measure up and mark out the site for the new Giants Chair. Four large Beech trees will be used to make the main structure.

Each of these will be cut down to about 8 metres of trunk which will become the 4 chair legs and be located on concrete blocks to ensure stability, and to keep the timber out of the wet ground.

The type of tree together with the basic method of construction is just the same as with the original Chair of 30 years ago.

To help clear the site of vegetation and topsoil a Navy team from HMS Collingwood came out of Portsmouth to help. With picks and shovels the group made short work of the task and by the end of the morning they had dug four holes each 1 metre square and 600 mm deep. Under the shallow topsoil is solid chalk and special spades and iron bars had to be used to cut through the rock.

HMS Collingwood is what is termed a ‘stone frigate’ or shore establishment. Opened in 1940 it is now the largest naval training organisation in Western Europe.

The Park plays host to many naval personnel over the course of the year and today’s team were based on HMS Illustrious and on shore for training.

Andy Frost Design Ltd is a small company who have been putting together original and sculptural play equipment for 20 years now.

Some years ago they built the QE Tots Play area with its lizard, butterfly, toad and grasshopper play items. All animals found in the Park. For more information about the company go to

Tomorrow the plan is to mix on site a total of three cubic meters of concrete to fill each hole. This will take several days to harden before the creative part of the construction can begin. The new Giants Chair should be complete by the end of June.





A few months after the old Giants Chair was removed for, yes health and safety reasons, construction of the replacement has begun.

Many visitors will remember the original Giants Chair which had been a well-kept secret hidden in the depths of the forest since the early 1980s.

Designed as an art installation it became a climbing frame and ‘meeting place’ for teenagers, many of whom now visit the Park with the next generation.

The new Chair will still be familiar although it is designed with play in mind. As a consequence all ages will be able to access the chair seat and there will be a safety surface underneath. Its location will be in the forest within 300 metres of the existing Juniper Play Area.

The designer Andy Frost, who put in the QECP Tots Play Area, will be in next week together with some Navy volunteers to start preparing the site and digging the foundations.


The Navy is helping out with this project thanks to the involvement of the Kyle Bartlett Memorial Fund which is contributing to the project costs. More information about the KBMF can be found at

The whole project should take about 4 weeks in total.

On the 18th/19th May the Park hosted the annual QECP Cycle Festival. Run by Hargroves Cycles this popular event started as a dealer day and has developed into a two day celebration of everything to do with cycling.

This year Cancer Research was the nominated charity which received a substantial donation from Hargroves at the end of the event.

There were all the major manufacturers and suppliers of bikes and parts present including Cube, who had come over from the continent specially for the event, Specialized, Scott and Shimano.

The two permissive mountain bike trails that run through the QE Forest provided the means for potential customers to test out the latest models.

The highlight of the weekend was the Saturday evening Enduro. This was a 4 hour off-road marathon with the entrants individual or team categories had to perform loops of a purpose designed course.

The winner of the individual event was Joahnnes Sickmuller who was racing for the Stevens Team. Johannes has been regularly placed in off-road events at European and World level for several years now, and was also first in last years race.

Alex Smith from the QECP Collective managed a very respectable 22nd place out of a field of over 100 entrants.

The Collective who are the Park’s own volunteer group, are now preparing to run their very first event which will take place in Head Down on the 1st June.

This will be the 4th Round in the National Gravity Project Race Series and will be the first downhill race to take place at QE for 17 years. The Collective have teamed up with British Cycling who also officiated at the Cycle Fest’ Enduro.

For more information about the Cycle Fest’ including a course video and race results go to

Details about the forthcoming Gravity Project event can be found at   or on the Collective’s twitter @QECP_collective

On Saturday at 9.00am QECP experienced its first Park Run, along with 139 runners and many helpers.  Park Run is the name given to a collection of 5km runs that take place every week in many differ countries around the world.

They are free to enter and welcome runners of any ability. Entrants are required to register on-line for a unique number and to print their own bar code before taking part. Individual results are then uploaded on-line by volunteers.

Saturdays event was well rehearsed and went without a hitch. As it was the first race the winners now have the course record for at least one week!

Peter. J Collins, recently moved to these parts from Wales, was the male winner in a time of 18 minutes 45 seconds. And Elizabeth Hedley was the female winner in 20.33.

may13 162A total of 37 clubs were represented on the day and one individual was presented with an award for completing 50 different Park Runs. After the race was over the majority of runners retired to the café for tea and cakes.

For more information about this weekly event at QECP, or Park Runs in general go too


On Monday the 17th May BBC South Today and BBC Radio Solent came to the Park to see ‘adder tagging’.

This is not some traditional countryside pastime of old but rather an innovative way of monitoring this scarce and fascinating reptile, and only the second time that this project has been carried out in England.

The Park has a very healthy population of adders which happily co-exists with the many recreational users. This project will hopefully inform and improve the management of both the snake’s habitat and also the way our visitors use the site.

Ten adders have now been radio tagged and for the next 6 months the rangers and volunteers at QECP will be following their every move. 

The tags are attached using clear porous tape and need to be found and retrieved should the adder shed its skin.

This project is supported by the QECP Volunteers and the South Downs National Park.

For more information about the adder tagging there will be a reptile walk as part of the 24 hour BioBlitz on Sunday the 11th August. Pre-booking is required. For more information go to

Recently the Four Wheel Drive Club paid a visit to the Country Park to bbq and camp after a day spent on the County’s byways and green-lanes.

The club is based in the South East but membership is open to anyone anywhere.

The aim of the club is to provide a fun and friendly place to exchange knowledge, advice and adventures with all owners, whether they have never before taken their tyres off-road or are serious mud-pluggers.

As well as using the bbq and camping facilities at the Park they have an annual ‘trial’ which takes place in Head Down adjacent to QE Forest.

The idea behind the event is to test a drivers skill and control of their vehicle as they try to navigate a series of obstacles at slow speed. 

For more information about the club go to  

Details about the bbq sites can be found on the Park’s web-site at   

The Raven Field Archery Club ran a two-day open competition this weekend. On Saturday some 94 archers attended and on Sunday another 96 were booked in.

The event attracted a quality field including Naomi Folkard who was in the Great Britain Olympic team for the 2012 Games. Details about the club can be found at

Archery is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK providing a good balance between fun and fitness, and is able to be enjoyed by all ages and abilities.

Members can use the traditional longbow with wooden arrows and feather flights or the high-tech pulley assisted, telescopic sighted composite bows which resemble something from a science fiction set.

Archery GB is the National Governing Body which incorporates the Grand National Archery Society founded in 1861. For more information about local clubs and events go to

The event is one of a number held in Head Down, which is located on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth Forest and used for club run pre-booked events including 4WD training, motorbike trials and mountain boarding. Prospective event enquiries to



Next Page »