Queen Elizabeth Country Park

On Saturday the 8th June over 2,000 runners took part in the South Downs marathon series based at Queen Elizabeth Country Park. The event included a full marathon, a marathon relay, a half marathon and a 4 mile family fun run all organised by Hampshire based company 2:09 Events.

The first competitors arrived to camp on the Friday night and by Saturday morning at 8.00am 6 coaches were parked outside the visitor centre ready to take the full marathon runners to Slindon College, the official start point for the main event.

A good finish time for the 26 miles, with its total elevation gain of 5728 feet and loss of 5523 feet, was under 4 hours. All race results will be posted on the 2:09  website at www.209events.com

The half-marathon and 4 mile run started and finished at QECP with all races timed to finish over a similar time.

The marathon has been going for several years now and has become a classic in the Trail Runners calendar, helped no doubt by the fantastic South Downs scenery, and by the organisational skills of 2:09.

The half marathon started in 2012 and took off immediately. Although the lower age limit for the marathon is 18 years there is no such barrier for the 4 mile fun run adding to the family appeal of the day.

2:09 Events run other events in the local area as well as in far-flung places such as New York and Tokyo.

For more information about other running or walking events held here at QECP over the Summer go to the Park’s web-site on  www.hants.gov.uk/qecp







The Park’s own cycling volunteers, the QECP Collective, have just run their first successful event. This was one of a National series of downhill time trails which was run with help from British Cycling and attracted over 100 entrants.

The location for the trial was not in the main country park but an adjacent block of Forestry Commission plantation where  pre-booked events as diverse as archery and motorcycle trials take place.

The aim of a downhill trial is simply for riders to race against the clock along a winding stretch of un-surfaced single track. The time taken is typically about 1 minute with riders making several attempts over the course of a day.

Specialist bikes and safety gear are essential for this type of competition and thanks to good organisation and sensible riding the event passed without incident.

It is about 17 years since the last downhill trial at QECP and this will now become an annual event.

The QECP Collective are to run a second mountain bike event on the 21st July. This will be a Gravity Enduro and will again be run in partnership with British Cycling.

A Gravity Enduro involves longer trail sections, each with 3-6 minutes of cycling and also with an element of climb or descent, typically 100m.

A total of 5 timed sections will be added together to form an aggregate score which will determine the winner in each category. For more information and to book in for the event go to http://www.qecptrailcollective.co.uk

This Sunday in glorious Summer weather over 5,000 car enthusiasts gathered for the South Hants Vehicle Preservation Society’s annual show.

The events field on the slopes of Butser Hill was filled to capacity as people came to see some 500 classic and vintage machines. These included cars, commercials, motorcycles and military vehicles all polished and looking their best. The oldest was  made in 1903 and the youngest in 1987.

In addition there were over 150 auto-jumble stalls where you could buy, or sell, every thing from a beautifully restored 185cc Suzuki Trials Bike from the 1980s for £3,000, to those all important nuts, bolts and widgets for a few pennies.

For most stall holders the aim is sell more than you buy and to have fun.

A brass band, children’s entertainment and full catering facilities ,including a licensed bar all helped to make for a fantastic day out.

]The South Hants Vehicle Preservation Society is a thriving local club which welcomes new members, with or without a classic or vintage vehicle.

They have a busy events programme including trips abroad, treasure hunts and club runs. For more information go to www.shvps.org.uk

The definition of what represents a classic or vintage vehicle is a contentious point and the challenge is to pick future classics that are currently bangers.

Arguably a ‘modern classic’ is any vehicle considered collectible regardless of age. However HM Revenue & Customs define a classic vehicle for company car taxation purposes as being over 15 years old and having a value greater than £15,000






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 http://www.andyfrostdesign.net

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 http://kbmf.co.uk

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 http://www.qecpcyclefest.co.uk

Details about the forthcoming Gravity Project event can be found at facebook.com/gravityprojectgp   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 www.parkrun.org.uk/queenelizabeth


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