History of the Green Man

How has the Green Man Ultra developed?

Ultra Running Limited has developed ‘The Green Man Ultra’ in conjunction with The Gaveller and existing Woodwoses on a very similar basis to The Green Man Challenge, but with the following exceptions:

  • The event is under race conditions and entrants will be issued with race numbers
  • Check-points will be provided (4 in total) to (a) monitor times & wellbeing of competitors, (b) provide water and some nutrition.
  • At the end of the race finishers will receive (a) Bespoke Green Man Technical T-Shirt, (b) Bespoke Green Man medal, (c) Signed certificate to confirm entitlement to either a Woodwose or a Woodwight (GMU45 only).
  • Check-point food and a hot meal will be available at the finish.

The Green Man Ultra closely follows the same route as the “Green Man Challenge” and consists of a 45 mile course following the Community Forest Path around the city of Bristol, which was developed by the Forest of Avon Trust team. There is also the option of a thirty mile course GMU30 which starts further along the race route, some thirty miles from the finish. The race start for the GMU45 will be 8.00am. The race start for the GMU30 will be 11.00am.

Check point cut-off times are set; which will allow completion of the main race within a 12 hour period.  Anybody who falls outside the 12 hour set period, at any of the check-points, will have failed to have completed the challenge and not be allowed to continue. Anyone who completes within the set time will be entitled to be called a Woodwose and their name entered in the Forestal Book of the Honourable Order of Woodwoses, which can be found in digital form along the pages at Gaveller’s Web blog.

Green Man Terminologies

Woodwose: Anybody who conquers the 44-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!

Woodwight: 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 Woodwose.

This is entirely consistent with Buddhist ideas, in which the original symbol of the Buddha was a giant footprint!
Wistman & Wisthound: Wistman’s Wood is described on the Legendary Dartmoor website – www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk – 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.

Occasionally, a Woodwose may be accompanied by a Wisthound, one of those mystical creatures that are said to be kennelled in Wistman’s Wood.