The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Malverns Adventure Race


Course Conditions

Information about the course area and trail conditions for the 2019 Malverns Adventure Race.


General Notes

We have favoured routes which are runnable and rideable, over those which were not (e.g. because they were too overgrown when we did a final recce of the course last week). As a result, you may find you are on roads / pavements a bit more than usual. However, don't be misled - the majority of the course is still off road and you will need to venture off road to reach most of the checkpoints. Just bring footwear that is equally at home on tarmac as it is on dirt, grass and gravel.

Although the ground is largely firm (and expected to remain so), there are a few soft, wet muddy patches where water seeps from the ground and/or the ground doesn't see the sun.

The public rights of way are on the whole well kept and well signed so keep an eye out for waymarker posts (and waymarker arrows not on posts) to keep you on the right track.

Watch out, slow down and give way to other people and animals. The Malvern Hills are very popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders so expect some of the trails to be busy with other members of the public out and about. A bike bell is strongly recommended so you can warn others of your approach. Always slow down, give way and be courteous to other members of the public.

There are livestock on the hills and in some fields. Please make sure gates are both shut and properly fastened behind you, so animals do not escape from where they are supposed to be.

The vast majority of the trails are clear of vegetation but you may encounter one or two sections that are a bit more overgrown - we're talking long grass with the odd stray bramble / stinging nettle - so you may wish to wear long socks or carry leg protection with you just in case. It's also worth checking your bike tyres are in good working order, and your puncture repair kit is up to the job just in case you do ride over the odd stray bramble.

Both the water (for the kayaking) and the hills are very exposed to the elements, in particular the wind. Please make sure you are suitably equipped for all conditions, whatever the forecast.

There are natural springs on the Malvern Hills but drinking from them is not recommended.


Trail Run

When visiting Trail Run checkpoints you must stick to public rights of way and other designated routes (see key printed on course map). You must stick to the trails at all times – that’s why it’s called a Trail Run! Cutting across open grassland - even on the open access land on the hills and commons - is not permitted.

The ground is largely dry and firm at the moment. Soft muddy patches are few and far between, and are usually in the woods where the ground is sheltered from direct sunlight.

On the hills there are a mixture of grassy paths and dirt trails, some of which are stonier and more rocky than others. 

Wooded areas provide some shade and shelter on the lower slopes but as you venture higher the ground becomes open and exposed to the elements

The sides of the hills are quite steep. However you don’t need to scale these if you don’t want to – there is plenty of pleasant running to be enjoyed on the many trails that contour around the sides of the hills, and you still get a good view of the surrounding area.  

There will be a bit of crossing roads and running along pavements and through urban corridors. The exact amount will obviously depend on your route choice, but anyone visiting all the run checkpoints should expect to be off-road for the vast majority of the time.

Nettles and brambles are starting to make an appearance along one or two of the lesser used trails but they shouldn’t cause you any major problems if you dress accordingly and/or tread carefully.

If you take one of the public rights of way across the golf course, check that a golfer isn't about to hit a ball before venturing out across the fairway. Make sure you adhere to the notices and follow the white painted waymarker posts (when you are at one post, stop and check where the next one is in the distance before proceeding otherwise you might head off in the wrong direction).


Mountain Biking

The mountain biking course is half on road and half off-road (although the exact amount on each will depend on your route choice somewhat). The vast majority of the off-road routes are public bridleways but there are one or two other routes with public access that you may also use. You must not take bikes on footpaths – this is illegal.

Not all the public bridleways marked on the course map are suitable for cycling along. Some have lots of gates along them and others are too overgrown. The checkpoints have been positioned so you don't need to use these.

On the Malvern Hills themselves, there are lots of bridleways marked on the map but not all of them are suitable for cycling along. We recommend you therefore stick to the designated MTB routes which are marked on the ground and are shown on the course map. The designated MTB routes are not solely for mountain bikes - they are also public bridleways so expect to encounter other users (horse riders and walkers) on these and remember it is a legal obligation for cyclists to give way to horse riders and walkers on bridleways in England. Use of a bike bell to warn others of your approach is strongly advisable. Alternatively do what the signs say: be nice and say hi!

Take care when cycling on roads. Some of the B-roads are busy and fast (even more so than some of the A-roads). Keep into the left-hand side so that vehicles can pass when safe to do so. Roads across the commons often have animals on them. Other roads are steep and narrow. Descend these with caution as there could be an oversized tractor coming towards you around the next bend - expect the unexpected!



The kayaking takes place on the River Severn which you will cycle to and from.

The launch/egress point is shared with the local rowing club, and is next to a slipway where large powered craft launch from. Please be careful and considerate to other users as we are their guests and we want to be able to return again in the future. Make sure you keep out the way of others and follow any instructions from the marshals. If it gets very busy you may need to wait a moment before getting on / off the water. Please make sure you do wait if told to do so - it is for your safety and the safety of everyone around you. Anyone not obeying the marshal's instructions risks being penalised or disqualified. Your time can always be adjusted later if you are significantly delayed.

Access to the water is via a shallow submerged platform (these ducks are standing on it) next to the concrete slipway, so expect to get your feet wet when you get on/off the kayak.

The water is moving but not very fast, so it is not too difficult to paddle against the flow. The river is over 50m wide which makes it susceptible to the wind (and hence waves) and this is often harder to paddle against than the flow. As with all rivers, the sides provide the most protection from the wind and the flow so you can make it easier on yourself by sticking to the side of the river.

Please watch out for any anglers and keep to the opposite side of the river to where they are fishing from.

Keep well out of the way of other vessels - some of which are quite large - especially when kayaking through the marina. You should paddle on the right so oncoming boats can pass on your left (like driving on the continent).

It’s highly unlikely that anyone will capsize but, in the event that you do end up in the water, and you can’t get back on your kayak, it is best to hang on to the kayak which will give you additional buoyancy. If there is no one else around to help you then make your way together with your kayak to one of the many fishing platforms along the side of the river at water level (the riverbanks are steep and high). You will then be able to get out of the water. There will be a safety boat on the water, but it may take a while to reach you depending on where you are.



View all the photos taken on recent recce's showing different parts of the course here


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