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Tweet Saturday 18th November 2017

Outdoor enthusiasts asked to help shape the future of access

November 6 marks the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest, a historic document that gave common people the right of access to royal forests. This can be seen as the first step in a campaign spanning centuries, seeking the legal guarantee of freedom for people to access our beautiful landscapes.

This anniversary brings to life the long history of the struggle for greater access to the countryside, a mission that is very close to many people’s hearts. But what do people want for the next 800 years? Now is your chance to share your views and help shape the future of access.

The Ramblers are kicking off a nationwide debate, gathering thoughts from everyone on what they would like the future of access to look like for the next 800 years.

Nicky Philpott, Ramblers director of advocacy and engagement said: “We know that access rights aren’t just important for walkers, but for many people enjoying the great outdoors. Being able to walk off the path and explore freely is particularly important for activities like orienteering, so we want to gather views from everyone on what they would like the future of access to look like.”

People are being asked to share their views by visiting

You can find out more about this campaign here.

Tweet Friday 17th November 2017

John and June Webb’s involvement with Suffolk Orienteering Club

The East Anglia Orienteering Association was set up in 1971 by Richard Raynsford, with the individual clubs of Norfolk Orienteering Club, Suffolk Orienteering Club and West Anglian Orienteering Club developing over the following twelve months. Two Suffolk Orienteering Club members, John and June Webb, have been orienteering with Suffolk Orienteering Club almost from the beginning. 

Jennie Taylor, Communications Officer looked into John and June Webb’s involvement with Suffolk Orienteering Club over the years.

Here is the Webb’s story:

In 1986 the JK was hosted by East Anglia Orienteering Association, with events at Brandon and at Pretty Corner near Sheringham. June handled the entries and Suffolk Orienteering Club members spent time at the Webb’s house putting everything together.  It was the first time the JK had had over 3000 entries – and this was in the days before electronic punching and almost-instantaneous online results, so the task involved preparing individually numbered punchcards for the event and labelled results envelopes for subsequent mailing to competitors.  We also had the task of sorting 4000 randomly mixed second-hand bibs which arrived stuffed in large sacks.

During the preparations for the JK we visited the Forest of Dean and June was one of the first in Suffolk and in the country to have a massive dose of Lyme disease from an infected tick and the first case of Lyme’s to be seen at Ipswich hospital.

Photos supplied by John and June Webb who were in charge of event registration in the JK 1986 event.

John wrote software for his Osborne computer so that June could compile the entry lists and the data was transmitted to Havering and South Essex Orienteering Club Keith Ryder’s BBC computer so he could produce computerised results.  Keith’s son David later produced the Splits Browser which is nowadays included in the results.

The East Anglia Orienteering Association was later given an award by the Eastern Region Sports Council for the contribution made to sport by the staging of the JK.  June was invited to the official presentation in Norwich and has fond memories of shaking hands with, and being photographed alongside, Sebastian Coe.

How John and June became involved in orienteering.

John remembers reading an article about Orienteering in the Daily Telegraph in 1970/71. The article, by Gordon Pirie, one of the UK’s top athletes of the time, inspired him to write off for more information but he was informed that there was no orienteering in his neighbourhood. Towards the end of 1972 he received a letter notifying him of an event to take place in the Tangham area of Rendlesham Forest, so he decided to give it a go.  This was the first event held by the newly formed Suffolk Orienteering Club and John joined the club soon afterwards.

June, on the other hand, became interested in the sport through her son, a pupil at St Joseph’s College in Ipswich, where Brother William (then Treasurer of BOF and a keen orienteer) was a member of staff. On an open day, June’s family took part in a course which Brother William had set up in the school grounds. June was already running a Girl Guide company and Brother William agreed to instruct them in the basics of orienteering, starting with a slide show and later holding training sessions at the school for several weeks. The bus trips to the events proved to be very popular with the Guides!

June’s first husband died suddenly when their family was still relatively young, but June continued to foster an interest in orienteering in her children and in her Guide company. It was at a training event which June arranged for a group of Guides at a Youth Hostel that June first met John, who, together with Denis Arnold, had volunteered to coach the session. 

Maps in the early days were very simple black and white affairs; the Rendlesham Forest map was relatively complicated.

Rendlesham Forest map.  Supplied by John Webb, Suffolk Orienteering Club

John produced the first 5 colour Suffolk Orienteering Club map (Bentley Woods), drawn upon a multitude of superimposed sheets of tracing film.  Unfortunately, the person looking after the tracings decided that they were no longer of interest as Bentley Woods had changed hands and disposed of them, much to John’s disappointment. Geoff Hill was one of the first people in the country to produce computer drawn pre-marked maps, printed on the professionally-printed blank map.  Otherwise, pre-marked maps were produced with much swearing and inky fingers on an overprinting “machine” (a supersized John Bull printing outfit).  The East Anglia Orienteering Association overprinter still resides in the Webb’s loft.

John and June competed on a regular basis, attending not only the local events but the multi-day events such as the JK, the White Rose and the Karrimor. June remembers attending a Swedish 5-day orienteering event with 20,000 competitors. “Amazing experience. One boulder looked like another”. She developed an allergy to peppers but still ran her courses despite being sick. Asked in a radio interview whether she would return to Sweden, June had to admit that it was unlikely due to the high cost of living.

Both John and June have served on the Suffolk Orienteering Club committee: June wrote the Punch newsletter for a while and was Club Treasurer for many years while John supplied much technical expertise.  As for publicity, June remembers spending many days delivering posters to libraries and schools before the days of websites and Facebook.

June also became a coach for the club and in this capacity, with a friend, a teacher from Barnardiston Hall School, hired Santon Downham Village Hall and ran a course for the pupils. In the morning they played “O” games and then the children (in pairs & with helpers) went out into the forest to try real orienteering.  The school set up its own basic orienteering course in the grounds of the Hall and has been successfully involved in orienteering ever since.

John and June, together with John and Jenny Collyer from Essex Stragglers (SOS), also instigated the Essex & Suffolk Schools Orienteering League and are justifiably proud of its continuing success.

John and June overseeing the Start at a recent Kings Forest event  

Photo credit:  Chris Gay, Suffolk Orienteering Club

Suffolk Orienteering Club Chair, says:

“John and June are stalwarts of SUFFOC. Without the dedication and enthusiasm from members like the Webbs, Orienteering would cease as the sport needs willing volunteers. It’s a well-established fact that volunteering in any capacity gives the individual a sense of worth and hence adds to their well-being. For John and June, it also leads to personal happiness…but this aspect cannot be guaranteed for everyone!.”

British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to thank both John and June for their volunteering over the years and for their continued commitment to the sport and to their club.  It is great to see how orienteering has developed over the years.  

British Orienteering is celebrating 50 years this year!  British Orienteering would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the dedicated people from every part of the UK who have contributed so much to British Orienteering’s growth and development over the years. 

Have you or your club have got a similar story which you would like to share with other members? 
If you have, then please get in touch.  Email:

Tweet Friday 17th November 2017

British Orienteering Recognised Centre scheme – 3 years on!

This scheme has been successfully designed by British Orienteering to support outdoor education centres to deliver a positive first experience of orienteering to their customers. As part of British Orienteering’s commitment to supporting the outdoor industry, carefully selected advisors work in partnership with outdoor centre staff to deliver a positive first experience of orienteering to their customers.

There a number of processes that the outdoor education centres have to go through before they become recognised (see diagram 1 below). Recognised Centre Status customers the assurance of a good orienteering experience.

From the outdoor centre’s perspective, being part of the British Orienteering Recognised Centre scheme not only allows them to promote their recognised centre status on all of their publicity and promotional materials and websites but they can stand out from other centres by being able to demonstrate a positive first experience. This allows centres who are part of the scheme to promote added value to their customers resulting in increased bookings at their centre and provide excellent customer satisfaction to those who wish to try orienteering for the first time or expand on their existing skills. British Orienteering believes from talking to the outdoor centres who have already become part of the scheme that being part of the scheme helps to give them the extra edge over their competitor centres and ultimately increasing bookings and sales. 

Jackie Bryson, Chief Executive Officer and Dan Riley  
First day of coaching in the Braich Bryn Engan area

Why we used a British Orienteering Recognised Centre for a training base for our club?

British Orienteering’s accredited Recognised Centres are great places to be used by members, clubs and training camps for all their training needs. They are a great way for coaches from any club or squad to use as a venue and provide comfortable accommodation and facilities.

South Midlands Orienteering Club had 16 people from their club who wanted a weekend of coaching focused on contours at Plas y Brenin – the National Mountain Sports Centre. Plas y Brenin had been successful in achieving British Orienteering Recognised Centre status and met all the criteria necessary to become an accredited centre.

The group from South Midlands Orienteering Club was hosted by Plas y Brenin, with Orienteering Coach Helena Burrows facilitating the weekend. The first day of coaching took place on Braich Bryn Engan, and the second at Newborough on the Isle of Anglesey.

Jennie Taylor, Communications Officer caught up with Helena Burrows, Qualified Orienteering Coach and asked her from a coach’s point of view what she thought the benefits were of taking a group away to a recognised centre for coaching sessions?

Helena Burrows, a Qualified Orienteering Coach, said:

“As a club coach taking a group away to a British Orienteering accredited Recognised Centre for coaching has several benefits.

Firstly, there is always a good map of the site offering potential for coaching different aspects in a safe environment away from traffic.

Secondly, centres will already have a range of mapped activity resources available for younger or less experienced orienteers.

Thirdly, for a residential visit, the group is together in the evening’s which provides an ideal opportunity for reviewing and developing the coaching that has been done during the day.

Fourthly, there is potential access to other activities, for example, canoeing, climbing, high ropes, problem-solving and more with centre qualified staff either to use for other family members or for the group as a break from orienteering sessions.

And last but definitely not least, there is access to different types of mapped terrain not available in the club’s locality which will allow the development of higher level skills. However, permissions for use and access may need to be sought from the local club through their contacts.”



Plas y Brenin Chief Instructor Carlo Forte added: “It was a real pleasure for us to host the group from South Midlands Orienteering Club, and we’re extremely glad they made the most of our resources as a Recognised Centre. Our facilities and location make us ideally suited for club or group coaching sessions, with our Recognised Centre status serving as a real mark of quality.” 




















Outdoor Centres are supported by British Orienteering advisors who work with them to meet a set of criteria demonstrating that the centres provide a positive first experience of orienteering.

British Orienteering has 13 outdoor education centres who have successfully achieved accreditation to the scheme and there are 10 more centres currently going through the process. Hopefully, they will soon be successful in achieving the requirements set by British Orienteering and meet the criteria to qualify and be part of the scheme.

13 Outdoor Education Centres have successfully achieved accreditation to the scheme and include:  

Arran Outdoor Centre (Isle of Arran, West Coast of Scotland),
Cliffe House Outdoor Study and Conference Centre (Kirklees Council, Shepley, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire)
Dolphin House Activity Centre (Culzean Castle and Country Park, Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland)
East Lothian Council Outdoor Learning Service (Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland)
The Frank Chapman Centre (Bewdley, Worcestershire)
Hill End Centre (Farmoor, Oxford)
Plas y Brenin – National Mountain Centre (Conwy, Wales)
Entrust Standon Bowers Outdoor Centre (Standon, Stafford)
JCA Condover Hall Activity Centre (Shrewsbury, Shropshire)
Kingswood – Colomendy (Denbighshire, North Wales)
Kingswood Dearne Valley (Denaby, Conisbrough, South Yorkshire)
Kingswood Overstrand Hall (Norfolk)
Kingswood West Runton (Cromer, Norfolk)

To find out more about British Orienteering Accredited Recognised Centres to take your club or group to can be found here.

Four recent successes of the Recognised Centres include:

1. East Lothian Council Outdoor Learning Service and Dolphin House Activity Centre have both been used by local schools for organising orienteering competitions.

2. Cliffe House Outdoor Study and Conference Centre have group bookings and will be hosting a range of Teaching Orienteering and Coaching Courses at their centre with many groups booked in and using the accommodation at the centre at the end of November.

3. Hill End Centre, Arran Outdoor Centre, Dolphin House Activity Centre, East Lothian Council Outdoor Learning Service have all had group bookings over the last two months and have hosted a range of orienteering courses which has brought in new revenue streams to their centres.

4. Kingswood Colomendy have both recently hosted Youth Orienteering Camps at their outdoor centres with school groups using the grounds for orienteering activities which has also ensured additional income streams from schools using the accommodation and facilities.

More information about British Orienteering’s Recognised Centre scheme can be found here.

Tweet Monday 13th November 2017

British Schools Orienteering Championships 2017 this Sunday!

Saturday 18 November 2017 TRAINING Event: 
Cannop Ponds, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

Sunday 19 November 2017 CHAMPIONSHIPS: 
New Beechenhurst (South-West), Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. 

Organised by  Bristol Orienteering Klub and supported by the British Schools Orienteering Association.

Now in its 31st year, we see the British Schools Orienteering Championships return to New Beechenhurst for the first time since 2002 next weekend. With over 90 schools and over 450 competitors taking part, it will be an exciting weekend of racing to see which schools take the trophies.  With school start times spread across the morning, it's unlikely we will know who the winners are until the last runners are in.

British Schools Orienteering Championships 2017

New Beechenhurst is typical Forest of Dean terrain with a network of paths, some steep slopes, ditches and streams. The area will require the children to use their navigation skills while running around this lovely forest. With the Autumn leaves on the trees and ground the area looks lovely.

Event Organiser Richard Rossington of Bristol Orienteering Klub, said:  "Bristol Orienteering Klub are really looking forward to showing off the Forest of Dean to young orienteers from across Britain.  Carol Iddles has worked hard to plan challenging and enjoyable courses for all levels on what we expect to be a great day - and hope to be a fine one! Peter Maliphant's Saturday training courses will be excellent preparation, in similar terrain very close by at Cannop. See you at the weekend!"

British Schools Orienteering Association, said:  "British Schools Orienteering Association are delighted to see so many children from across the whole country taking part in this year's British Schools Orienteering Championships.  We hope the children all have a fantastic weekend and the weather is good.  On behalf of British Schools Orienteering Association, a huge thank you to Bristol Orienteering Klub and their volunteers for taking on this event and putting on the training event the day before.  Good luck everyone!"

Final Details can be found - here.

Officials for the Saturday Training Event: 
Planner: Pete Maliphant (Bristol Orienteering Klub)
Organiser:  Pete Maliphant (Bristol Orienteering Klub) with Richard Rossington (Bristol Orienteering Klub)
Safety Officer:  Richard Rossington (Bristol Orienteering Klub).

Officials for the Sunday British Schools Orienteering Championships: 
Planner:  Carol Iddles (Bristol Orienteering Klub)
Organiser:  Richard Rossington (Bristol Orienteering Klub) 
Controller:  John Fallows (North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club) 
Safety Officer: Mike Forrest (Bristol Orienteering Klub). 

British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to thank all volunteers from Bristol Orienteering Klub and other clubs for spending their time putting on this event and ensuring that this is a great weekend of orienteering event for all to enjoy.  Best wishes to all who are travelling to compete at this year's British Schools Orienteering Championships Final and training event this weekend. Fingers crossed for sunny weather!