The Green Man Challenge.

The Challenge
The Route (PDF file)
The Gaveller


The Challenge:

Complete a continuous circuit of the 45 mile Community Forest Path around Bristol within a day to become a Woodwose

There are two ways to become a Woodwose:

  1. If you want to take part in an organised event sign up for the Green Man Ultra in March
  2. If you are a sturdy individualist, The Green Man is a free-standing anytime challenge. "All" you have to do is complete a continuous circuit to the CFP and send a report and/or GPS track to The Gaveller at He will then enter your name in the Forestal Book of the Honourable Order of Woodwoses and will send you a certificate in exchange for £1.00 to cover postage and packing.


  1. Navigation. The route is shown on OS Explorer Map 155, with a little bit on OS Explorer 167. It is also on OS Landranger 172 but this at a smaller scale and doesn't show field boundaries.
    Step-by-step directions, in the form of an Adobe Acrobat PDF file, can be obtained by clicking here. This also shows connections to public transport.
    If you have the suitable Garmin/OSM basemapsTM technology, you may download and use this file >> <<.
    [Note: For download purposes the green_man.gpx file is stored as a ZIP file which must be extracted after copying to your computer. No guarantee is made by CTTC of the accuracy of this file when used with externally-sourced software.]
    The Gaveller's Weblog also indicates where people have gone wrong in the past, which can be useful knowledge.
  2. Nutrition. No-one has big enough glycogen stores to run 45 miles, so you will need to top up your levels by taking in carbohydrates and water as you go on. You will either need support or carry food and water with you. There are also some shops and pubs on the route.
  3. Communication. If you break your leg or have a seizure of some sort, you will only get out of the situation if you have a mobile phone and somebody you can trust at the other end. NB There are some Mobile Phone dead spots.


can be found in The Gaveller's Weblog.

What is a Woodwose? And other mysteries...


Anybody who conquers the 45-mile Green Man Challenge around the Community Forest Path is termed a Woodwose, from the Old English wuduwāsa or wood-being, regardless of gender. Woodwose is the proper name for the wild men and wild women that haunted the imaginary forests of medieval Europe and is entirely appropriate for anyone mad enough to conquer the Community Forest Path!
A list of Woodwoses can be found in the Forestal Book of Honourable Order of Woodwoses, and in electronic form in The Gaveller's Weblog.
Some noteworthy Woodwoses can also be found in The A to Z of the Honourable Order of Woodwoses.


A wight is a general term for a living being or creature, often with supernatural connotations. A Woodwight is a wight associated with woods. I like to think of them as kindly helpful beings. Anyone who helps a Woodwose is a Woodwight.

Virtual Woodwose:

Heroic History proceeds more like Fennimore-Cooper Indians: "Each man, as they walk single file, careful to step in the footprints of the one ahead, so as to leave the impression of One Giant Indian." (Marshall Sahlins Islands of History, 1985).
Thus a relay team can produce a Woodwose.

Wistman and Wisthound:

Wistman's Wood is described on the Legendary Dartmoor website,, where it is said that it is "a wood of dwarf oak trees".
"Once you walk into the tangled web of trees you are transported into a mystical world of moss carpeted boulders, lichens of all descript, finger like oak branches, all engulfed in a wonderful smell of earth and age. For millennia this small, mystical, stunted woodland has been held in awe and for many fear. Tales of Druids, ghosts, the Devil and a host of other supernatural creatures abound, some dating back to the long lost ages before man could write. Many writers have described the wood as being 'the most haunted place on Dartmoor', others warn that every rocky crevice is filled with writhing adders who spawn their young amidst the moss and leaf strewn tree roots. Locals will never venture near once the sun begins it slow descent over the nearby granite outcrops for it is when the dark mantle of night draws tight that the heinous denizens of the wood stalk the moor in search of their human victims. So be afraid, very afraid, as the wagging finger of fate warns you to stay clear and risk not your mortal soul in the 'Wood of the Wisemen'."
Wistmen are evidently creatures to be reckoned with and may be recognised by their actions. Matt Edwards has already been entered as a Wistman, because he has shown himself to be a mystical Hierophant.
Record holders shall also hold this accolade. See the Records page on The Gaveller's Weblog.
Occasionally, a Woodwose may be accompanied by a Wisthound, one of those mystical creatures that are said to be kennelled in Wistman's Wood.


"Heere am I, and wood within this wood, because I cannot meet my Hermia." [A Midsummer Night's Dream - W.S.] nicely sums up the two meanings of wood.
As a noun, a wood is a wood. As an adjective Wood means: 1) Out of ones mind, 2) Going beyond all reasonable bounds.
Meaning 2, which goes with the original meaning of Forest - the place beyond the gate - from the Latin "Foras!", which is the answer to the question "Where are you going dear?" when a modern spouse might say - "OUT!"