Latest news

Tweet Thursday 23rd November 2017

Stoke-on-Trent’s first permanent orienteering course launched at city park

A fantastic example of partnership working demonstrated by the Potteries Orienteering Club as families are encouraged to search for posts around Hanley's Central Forest Park.

Families can now go orienteering at Hanley's Central Forest Park

A new permanent orienteering course (POC) was launched at Central Forest Park, in Hanley, at the start of half-term and families now have the chance to try out Stoke-on-Trent’s first POC at a city park and anyone who wants to have a go can pick up a free course map from the snack bar at the park.

There are already other permanent courses at Bathpool Park, Ladderedge Country Park and Brough Park in Leek, Downs Banks, Apedale Country Park and Biddulph Grange Country Park, but the course at Central Forest Park is the first in the Potteries.

Lily Taylor, aged six, celebrates tackling the city's first permanent orienteering course with members of the Potteries Orienteering Club. 

Lily Taylor, aged six, of Birches Head, tried out the course with her parents, Rachel, aged 37, and Steve, aged 43. 
The schoolgirl said: “It was fun and I enjoyed finding all the posts with my mum and dad.”

Steve said: “We come to the park a lot because we live nearby. We like it because it’s somewhere green within the city to take Lily. It has a good play area and there are lots of places to explore.

“This was our first time orienteering and it was brilliant. We’ll definitely do it again.”

Peter Munn, of Potteries Orienteering Club, said:  "The club had created the course with the help of a grant after Stoke-on-Trent was chosen as European City of Sport."

He said: “Orienteering is great for families to do. In fact, it’s good for all ages.  You can do orienteering for fun or at speed. It can be taken up as a sport and can be done competitively.  With the course at Central Forest Park, people are given a map and they then look out for the marker posts.”

Peter, who is semi-retired and lives in Porthill, took up orienteering about 10 years ago.

The 61-year-old added: “I do it competitively as a physical and mental challenge. I get to run because I’m trying to find the posts as quickly as I can. The challenge of finding them adds something extra.”

One of the posts that people can track down on the course at Central Forest Park
Stoke-on-Trents Xplorer at Westport Lake

Fellow Potteries Orienteering Club member, Dave Sparks, aged 70, of Newcastle, said: “Orienteering gets me out in the open air and exercising, and I enjoy planning the courses.”

The Club’s Permanent Orienteering Course Manager, John Heaton, aged 65, of Sneyd Green, said:  "There had been a good turnout for the event launch which was run on Saturday 21st October to coincide with the council organising a Festival of Walking (14th – 28th Oct)."

He said “People who took part at the first event weekend were given a map for the ‘O’ Challenge, which saw them track down as many marker posts as they could in an hour. We also ran helper sessions at 11am, midday and 1.30pm on the day to provide guided walks and extra help.

Despite being battered by Storm Brian. We had 40 participants including 30 new faces and one family requesting a membership form. The interest shown by these new faces has made me convinced that other similar projects in other parts of City would be a good idea”.

I asked all new face participants where they learned of this event - it was about two thirds from the Walking Festival publicity and the rest from our efforts in posting flyers through doors in surrounding streets. The power of publicity!”

The grant also included funding for an urban map of the adjoining city centre which will be great for juniors to compete on courses within the park and this is planned for autumn 2018.

With Xplorer events also being delivered by the council with 8 events happening locally between Oct half term and Christmas, as well as a new Get Out Get Active (GOGA) project planned for 2018 Kate Beer, City of Sport Theme lead at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “It is great to see a large compliment of orienteering projects happening and with Xplorer we are able to offer free sessions where younger children and their families can come along and have some fun. It meets our 5 ways to well-being community programme aims and young Beavers for example have also been using events to put hours towards their explorer badge." 

Natalie, a mother from Stoke said: “Xplorer is great and we never knew this place existed. We now come along on a weekly basis. We’re much more active as a family unit, I’ve even bought a pair of walking boots. We’re already looking forward to more xploring more parks in the Spring.”

Natalie Weir British Orienteering Development Officer, said: “Challenging my husband and friend, I recently went along to one of clubs score events and they are a fantastically friendly and welcoming club. It is great to see such a menu of Orienteering opportunities being made available and planned for the next year or so. There is quite a good network of small towns in the locality so the addition of Urban O will hopefully add to what is on offer and hopefully with continued partnership, support and raising awareness of Orienteering in the area the Potteries Orienteering Club can attract new people and grow their membership”.

To find an orienteering club event near you - click here.

For more information about Xplorer and to find an Xplorer event - click here.

Tweet Wednesday 22nd November 2017

How To Coach Young People For An Active Life

UK Coaching and Sport England have created a new animation to assist youth coaches in understanding and help young people positively change their sporting and physical activity behaviours.
Starting a new sport of physical activity or changing from inactive behaviour requires young people to go on a journey of change. Not all young people’s journeys will be easy, simple or quickly successful. Some young people will find ways to make the journey smoother and others will find the journey takes more effort and is a bumpier ride. 
Positive behaviour change can be achieved through coaches using a broad range of approaches that focus on young people as individuals, as part of a group or community or when they are in different environments. By using behaviour change strategies coaches can help and support young people to make better choices. 
Coaches can increase the likelihood of sustained positive behaviour change if they can: 

  • provide information that is easy to understand and at time when young people are likely to be responsive 
  • highlight that it is normal to take part and be active 
  • support young people to plan what to do when challenges occur 
  • help young people feel positive about the benefits of behaviours changed 
  • use simple tactics and strategies that support young people. 

Some behaviours are more resilient than others and therefore can be difficult and require a lot of effort. Changing inactive sporting or physical activity behaviours to becoming more active can be complex and therefore requires coaches and young people to keep going, persist and not to give up in developing new active behaviours and habits.

Find out more about the guidance and top tips for coaches in this short animation

New short animation
Tweet Tuesday 21st November 2017

Hill End Centre has achieved British Orienteering Recognised Centre Status

British Orienteering is delighted to announce that Hill End Centre has been accredited to their Recognised Centre scheme. 

Hill End Centre has been recognised by British Orienteering the National Governing body for the sport as providing a positive first experience of orienteering to visiting groups. End Centre is one of an increasing number of recently accredited centres awarded British Orienteering Recognised Centre status.

Amanda Warwick, Programme Tutor from Hill End Centre, said: "Hill End is located only four miles from the ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford, the peaceful, tranquil quality of our location is a world away from urban life. We offer visitors the opportunity to be closer to nature, with the space and time to explore and appreciate the wonders of the natural environment.

We are passionate about all learning and offer a wide range of unique educational opportunities for all peoples learning and development. Hill End welcomes many different groups including schools, corporate volunteering and away days, toddler groups and adult classes and workshops.

Hill End is delighted to achieve Recognised Centre Status as we believe that orienteering is an excellent medium through which we can deliver our core aims and objectives to the diverse types of groups that we deliver to."

Dan Riley, National Participation Manager for British Orienteering, said: “Our Recognised Centre scheme is designed to work with Outdoor Centres to understand how orienteering is used as a tool to deliver a wide variety of educational outcomes. We are pleased to recognise Hill End Centre as delivering a positive first experience of orienteering to visiting groups. Hill End have demonstrated themselves to be a dynamic organisation. Even before they achieved Recognised Centre Status they have taken it upon themselves to deliver Teaching Orienteering. Additionally, they have been supporting a project in the nearby Vale of White Horses to deliver orienteering to older adults. I am confident they will continue to contribute to raising the profile of orienteering within their sphere of influence.”

British Orienteering are also appreciative of the support given to Hill End by Ed Nicholas of Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity.

Recognised Centre Status is awarded to Outdoor Centres who can show a consistently high standard of orienteering across a range of criteria that covers orienteering delivery, staffing, resourcing as well as policies and procedures. These are examined in detail by British Orienteering advisors and accredited to outdoor centres only if they meet the standards.

British Orienteering, the National Governing Body of the sport, provide specialist advisors to help Outdoor Centres across the country to provide the highest standards in orienteering delivery.

As part of the Recognised Centre scheme, British Orienteering provides approved outdoor centres with: 

  • A Recognised Centre plaque to display at their centre which confirms that the National Governing Body of the sport of orienteering is satisfied with the standards in orienteering being delivered by the centre
  • Use of the British Orienteering Recognised Centre logo on all their correspondence
  • A high profile listing on the British Orienteering website
  • Opportunities to host British Orienteering workshops, training courses and camps
  • On-going access to a wealth of orienteering knowledge and expertise.

British Orienteering, the National Governing Body for orienteering in the United Kingdom, launched their Recognised Centre scheme in 2015. The scheme aims to raise the profile of orienteering within the outdoor industry and recognise high quality experiences being provided by centres across the country.

For more information about the scheme and how to join visit the dedicated Recognised Centre section here

Tweet Friday 8th September 2017

City of Birmingham Orienteering Club set to host more Junior Events

Newcomer and Schools Events are set to be held on Saturday afternoons throughout the rest of the 2017 year and throughout 2018.

As well as hosting the Peter Palmer Junior Relays this weekend, the City of Birmingham Orienteering Club are also running a new series of monthly Newcomer and Schools Events starting on Saturday 30 September 2017 at Witton Lakes (B23 7XA) and then every other Saturday afternoon in 2017/2018 in various parks in and around Birmingham.  Sessions will run from 1pm - 2.30pm.

You can find full details of these Saturday afternoon orienteering events hosted by the City of Birmingham Orienteering Club – here


Jennie Taylor (JT) Communications Officer at British Orienteering caught up with Ian Gamlen (IG) City of Birmingham Orienteering Club Secretary.

JT:  “Ian, I understand that your Saturday afternoon events are set to start on 30 September at Witton Lakes at 1pm and are being rolled out throughout 2017 and 2018 in parks in and around Birmingham.  This all sound great.  What do you hope to achieve from these particular events?”

IG:  “We are hoping to achieve a strong following for orienteering, especially park orienteering, among children in North Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.”




JT:  “Why you think this type of activity is needed?”

IG:  “The city's parks are underused, and not enough sport is going on in the city, especially in the more deprived areas, and we can help to fulfil that need, especially among those children who aren't so keen on team sports. The area we're covering includes some of the richest districts in England and some of the poorest, and orienteering has the advantage of being challenging but cheap.”







JT:  “What do you intend to do?”

IG:  “We intend to follow in the footsteps of Sheffield Orienteering Club and clubs in other areas that have had successful schools-and-families events in parks.”





JT:  “How are you promoting the series?”

IG:  “We are distributing promotional flyers in libraries, leisure centres and youth clubs. We are also sending invitations to school children via their schools.”





JT:  “What will the activities be?”

IG:  “There will be white, yellow, orange and long orange courses for children progressing from year 3 to year 10 and above. We will also have a fun O maze. There will also be a longer course for adult orienteers.”





JT:  “What has led your club to do this?”

IG:  “Seeing what's going on in other clubs. 

The City of Birmingham Orienteering Club is a small club with lots of ambition and enthusiasm. We are very keen to increase our membership particularly juniors so that they get the opportunity to learn how to orienteer and help grow the sport.

For a number of years now the City of Birmingham Orienteering Club has been putting on a short orienteering course and a Maze O at the Sutton Coldfield Community Games. This was held this year in July and children and adults have the opportunity to take part and learn about over 90 different sport activities, including, of course, orienteering. This year they had over 500 children and adults go around the Maze O with many expressing an interest in taking up orienteering more regularly.”
City of Birmingham Community Games

JT:  “Thank you Ian; this is great to hear. All the best with everything.” 

For more information on the above events please go to

British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to wish the City of Birmingham Orienteering Club and its volunteers all the very best with the organising of their new club membership recruitment events.