Permanent and Virtual Orienteering Courses

Virtual Orienteering Courses (using smartphone App)

These have been setup during the COVID-19 Lockdown, and are maintained for good orienteering with social distancing – you run on your own at a time of your choice.

They use a smartphone app which “beeps” at the control locations. There are no control markers in the terrain, just the feature.

Thanks to the efforts of club member Peter Foulkes, we have three Street-O training events available. These are the races previously held in Battersea, Wimbledon and Norbiton / Kingston.

We also have also setup courses in Richmond Park and on Wimbledon Common. These are lovely locations for a training run. Runnability off paths varies with the time of year. There are no markers.

Please Note. The courses are for an individual training run. It is not an organised event, so it is not covered by the BOF Insurance Policy.

How It Works


First, download/request the PDF map of the training course you wish to do, and print it out (or keep it on your phone).

Street-O courses:

Here is the Battersea map (start at SW11 3AA, but see below “Choice of Start/Finish” section)
Here is the Wimbledon map (start at SW19 1RQ, but see below “Choice of Start/Finish” section)
Here is the Norbiton map (start at KT2 6QP, but see below “Choice of Start/Finish” section)

Park courses:

Wimbledon Common courses

Richmond Park courses

Mountain bike courses:

There are five 2 to 3 hour mountain bike courses around Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey. For Mountain Bike courses, please see MBO Virtual Orienteering Courses. They use A4 OS 1:25,00 scale maps which you can print at home. Instructions on how to create your own course are available. Events that used MapRun from 2022 onwards are still available to ride. Free waterproof maps may be picked up from our regular events.

Choice of Start/Finish

All courses have a start and finish point printed on them (as normal), but to make them more easily accessible they can also now be started at any control on the map – the App will do this automatically once you get there. If you do use this feature, your ‘finish’ will be the same as your ‘start’ so you do the same course, just starting and finishing in a different place.

Smartphone App

Then, download the “MapRun6” App from the Google / Apple store (notice the 6 at the end of the name.) Once installed, select your event (within ‘UK’ > ‘South London’ subfolder). Once you’re ready to run, go to the start/finish of the event you have selected, open the MapRun6 App, and click on “Go to Start”. Your run starts automatically when the App detects you are at the start location or any control (see above.)

Do the course

Do the street-o or course as normal, carrying your phone with you. For Street-Os, you have 60 minutes to find as many controls as possible (just run past them) in any order. For the linear courses, just do them in order as normal.

At each control, you should hear a “beep” from the App to confirm punching (or you can look at your phone to double check.) Sometimes you may need to wait some seconds at each one. Return to where you started to finish your run.  When the App detects you are back, it will automatically stop your run. Note the “beep” can sometimes be a bit hard to hear in noisy locations!

Your time (& a score for the street-os) will be calculated automatically based on your GPS trace. Street-O scoring is as normal (points are awarded according to the first number of the control so 1x = 10 points, 2x = 20 points etc.), except the penalties are 30 points per minute (or part minute) late back.

You will be able to see your result in the MapRun6 App with other people’s results.

Important note: You should only do these training runs if you can do so while adhering to the current government guidelines for the control of the novel coronavirus. For the moment (May 2020), this means that you should be able to get to the start / finish reasonably quickly (ideally by bike or on foot) and run on your own or with members of your household.  Cycling is not currently permitted in Richmond Park or on Wimbledon Common.

If you have any questions or comments about the process, please contact me at . Enjoy!

Matthias Mahr, Park Race coordinator

Classic Permanent Orienteering Courses

It’s an orienteering course that is there all the time, not just on the day of an “event”. They are for use by anyone.

They are situated in local parks or forests owned by councils, the National Trust or Forest Enterprise. Management of the courses may be by the owner of the land, or by the local orienteering club.

The course is a number of permanent control points, usually about 20, identified by sturdy wooden posts with a code and an orienteering logo carved or painted on it. All the controls are shown on an overprinted map.

What is the purpose of permanent orienteering courses?

The courses have many purposes, depending on your own specific needs. The great thing about them is that you can go at a time to suit you, on whatever day of the week you choose. Whether you are using them for training, or for an adventurous family walk, the choice is entirely yours.

If you are an experienced orienteer you may use them to fine tune techniques, maybe pace counting, relocation or line orienteering.

They are an ideal way of introducing children and adults alike to the sport, where you can go at your own pace and spend as much time as you like figuring out the map.

If you want to go in a pair or as a group, again, this is the perfect opportunity.

You may have just started orienteering and want to gain confidence in your skills outside of the pressures of an organized competition.

Permanent orienteering courses in London

SLOW have arranged a number of permanent orienteering courses in south and west London. Details of the courses are below, and maps are available through British Orienteering’s directory of permanent courses – the links below take you straight to the relevant page.

Gunnersbury Park

March 2020 – We are pleased to add Gunnersbury Park to places hosting our permanent courses.

It is a lovely and really quite large park with many opportunities to orienteer away from line features.

There are eight courses available. The longest course is 3.6km.

Latitude/Longitude 51.5000, -0.2849

OS Grid Ref TQ191793

Esher Commons

Esher Commons offers genuine forest orienteering within the M25, and it’s where SLOW has the biggest range of permanent courses, including some that are more difficult than our other areas. There two yellow courses of 1.5km that will suit beginners, and there are three other courses; the hardest is a 5km blue course for experienced orienteers.

The start and finish is at Horseshoe Clump car park, where Blackhills meets Portsmouth Road. This is due west of postcode KT10 9JW, and next to Blackhills bus stop on route 515.

LocationEsher Commons
AddressPortsmouth Road, Esher
Latitude/longitude51.352, -0.3848
OS grid referenceTQ125626
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Elthorne Park

This park has a very rural feel and more contours than in most of London. There are five relatively easy courses up to 2.5km. As well as British Orienteering, maps are available from Elthorne Sports Centre, Westbury Road, off Boston Road, Hanwell, London, W7 2AD; telephone 020 8579 3226.

LocationElthorne Park
Latitude/longitude51.5014, -0.3328
OS grid referenceTQ158793
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Boston Manor Park

This lovely tranquil park partly set under the elevated section of the M4 offers some surprisingly interesting orienteering. Four relatively easy courses are available up to 1.4km. There is a car park in the park, or the nearest station is Brentford.

LocationBoston Manor Park
AddressBoston Manor Road, Brentford
Latitude/longitude51.4906, -0.3181
OS grid referenceTQ168781
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Wimbledon Park

Wimbledon Park, next door to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, has easy courses up to 1.8km. This PDF document gives more information about what courses you can do in Wimbledon Park.

LocationWimbledon Park
AddressWimbledon Park
Latitude/longitude51.4367, -0.2042
OS grid referenceTQ249723
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Paddington Recreation Ground

This is a surprisingly interesting park close to central London, and conveniently located very close to Maida Vale tube station. There are eight courses available from 0.5km to 1.6km. More details and opening times see the Paddington Recreation Ground website.

LocationPaddington Recreation Ground
AddressMaida Vale
Latitude/longitude51.53, -0.1904
OS grid referenceTQ256827
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Ravenscourt Park

This is a quiet park close to central London. Park is north of A315 King Street, south of Goldhawk Road A402. There is no car park; the nearest tube station is Ravenscourt Park.

LocationRavenscourt Park
AddressNorth of A315 King Street, south of Goldhawk Road A402
Latitude/longitude51.4967, -0.2381
OS grid referenceTQ224789
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Bishop’s Park

Four easy courses (longest 1.6km) are available in this lovely park set between the Thames, Fulham Palace Football Ground and the Fulham Palace itself. The park is just north of Putney Bridge, west of A219. There is no car park; the nearest tube station is Putney Bridge.

LocationBishop's Park
AddressNorth of Putney Bridge, west of A219
Latitude/longitude51.4712, -0.2189
OS grid referenceTQ238761
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Dulwich Park

Unfortunately this course is no longer maintained. The map is, however, updated from time to time and is available with the remaining 13 controls marked on it.

LocationDulwich Park
AddressDulwich Park
Latitude/longitude51.4452, -0.0791
OS grid referenceTQ335735
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Peckham Rye Park

Unfortunately this course is no longer maintained. The map is, however, updated from time to time and is available with the remaining 10 controls marked on it.

LocationPeckham Rye Park
AddressPeckham Rye Park
Latitude/longitude51.4563, -0.0612
OS grid referenceTQ347748
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Other permanent orienteering courses in the south-east

There are several permanent orienteering courses in London and all over south-east England, with details available from the British Orienteering permanent courses page.

Further information

If you have any questions or comments on SLOW’s Permanent orienteering courses, or would like to get hold of any of the maps,
please contact Don McKerrow:

Photo by Chrisinplymouth on Flickr