Permanent orienteering courses

What is a permanent orienteering course?

It 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. They are usually 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.

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. If you are an experienced orienteer you may use them to fine tune some techniques, maybe pace counting, relocation or line orienteering. They are also 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. So whether you are using them for training purposes or just for a more adventurous family stroll, the choice is entirely yours.

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.

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 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 referenceTQ126627
MapsGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap

Elthorne Park

This park has a very rural feel and more contours than in most of London. Five relatively easy courses up to 2.5km. As well as British Orienteering, maps are available rom 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 referenceTQ158794
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 referenceTQ169782
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 referenceTQ249724
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 referenceTQ256828
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 however no car park, so 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 referenceTQ224790
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, so the nearest tube station is Putney Bridge.

LocationBishop's Park
AddressNorth of Putney Bridge, west of A219
Latitude/longitude51.4712, -0.2189
OS grid referenceTQ238762
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 referenceTQ336735
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 referenceTQ348748
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

Orienteering in London and Surrey. British Orienteering's Club of the Year 2013. Community Amateur Sports Club accredited.