The Club Cross Country Championship race is held annually in Hargate Forest towards the end of the traditional cross country season around March.
The event is held over 3 laps of a testing 1.8 mile circuit, giving a total race distance of about 5.4 miles and plenty of opportunity for spectators to see the race. The hilly route takes in areas of heathland and mature coniferous forest, and includes a stream crossing — Sprat’s Brook — and several very muddy areas. One part of the course where the long straight of Broadview meets the Old Carriage Way is usually so waterlogged in early spring that it has become known as the ‘Canal Turn’.
The nature of the terrain is such that shoes with decent grip are recommended, with fell shoes or spikes being most widely used by competitors. The route is always clearly marked with yellow flags for the entire distance, and with arrow markers at each turn there is little opportunity to lose your way and go off-course.
How to get there
The main entrance to Hargate Forest is at the western end of Broadwater Down close to the junction with the A26 Eridge Road. There is ample parking in Broadwater Down, but please park as close as you can to the entrance to avoid the wrath of local residents. From the entrance, the start area is located in a large turning circle about 400 metres southwards along the forest track.
See a map showing the entrance to the forest.
All age categories take part in the one race, these being:
Men: Senior, M40, M50 & M60
Women: Senior, F35, F45 & F55
Silver salvers are awarded for each of these categories at the Club Annual Dinner Dance and Prize Presentation.
The first Club Cross Country Championships were held at the end of the 1999-2000 season. In 2001, the race was postponed due to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease, but restrictions that had been imposed on access to the countryside were lifted in time for the event to be held in the autumn.
The course records are held by Mark Taylor (men) and Alice Heather-Hayes (women).
Hargate Forest and The Woodland Trust
Hargate Forest is used for our annual championship race with the kind permission of the The Woodland Trust. The site was acquired by The Woodland Trust in October 1996, having previously been part of the Nevill Estate. The purchase was assisted by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a very successful local fund-raising campaign organised by the Friends of Hargate Forest. The Forest is owned and managed by The Trust — details of their management plan and the forest in general may be found at the Hargate Forest website.