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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

800th Permanent Orienteering Course clocked up last night!

Permanent Orienteering Courses are a great way to get outside and go orienteering at a time and place that suits you.  Courses offer a huge range of variety, from urban courses in city centres to rural routes through beautiful scenery. They are on your doorstep or further afield helping you to discover new places.  Whether it's a walk with the family, exploring the area whilst on holiday or simply just adding variety to a training run, Permanent Orienteering Courses can help you explore. 

Jennie Taylor Communications Officer caught up with Paul Turner member of South East Lancs Orienteering Club to find out more about Paul’s enjoyment of completing permanent orienteering courses around the UK and around the world.  Paul has now completed his 800th permanent orienteering course. 

Jennie Taylor Communications Officer said: “When I attended the recent EGM and Club & Association Conference in Leeds last month I got chatting with Paul Turner from South East Lancs Orienteering Club. I was amazed to hear that Paul had completed so many permanent orienteering courses across the UK and even around the world and that his tally was currently at 784.” 

Paul Turner from South East Lancs Orienteering Club said: “When I spoke with Jennie at the EGM, my tally was 784. Since then, I have taken advantage of the weather and extended my return journey home after competing in Derwent Valley’s EM Urban League Event at Chesterfield. This allowed me to add 2 small but very interesting Permanent Orienteering Courses to my tally.

Paul Turner completed his 800th permanent orienteering course

The first was Airienteers Holden Park (#785) in Oakworth. The second was Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Clitheroe Castle (#786) (South Ribble Orienteering Club/Pendle Forest Orienteers) and familiar to me from the excellent South Ribble Orienteering Club Sprint Series. The map is notable for the innovation of multiple concentric coloured circles to mark controls being on the various suggested courses.

I have now returned home from a Permanent Orienteering Course tour on the back of the Southampton Orienteering Club’s 50th November Classic over the weekend. I have taken part in and completed 3 events and 14 Permanent Orienteering Courses since leaving home on Thursday 2 November means I have tonight logged POC #800, fittingly being a permanent Street-O course at Seaton, Devon, done with headtorch! 6 POCs required 19 miles of running, albeit very slowly.”

Paul continues: “Being at the Greater Manchester Orienteering Activities Committee meeting last night reminded me of how I was encouraged to take up the CompassSport challenge quite a few years ago by my club colleague Beryl Blackhall and I began with a bulk purchase of about 20 of GMOA’s permanent orienteering course maps.

I expected to finish the challenge when I ran out of having a stock of maps for new areas to visit. However, I’ve not yet run out of maps as new permanent courses continue to come on stream. It was pleasing that my adventure last week began with a visit to Mirrlees Fields being the latest addition to the GMOA portfolio of over 50 actively managed permanent orienteering courses around Greater Manchester.”

On behalf of South East Lancs Orienteering Club, member Stephen Round said: “We've watched Paul's progress with a mix of awe and bewilderment, thinking it would peter out after he'd completed Greater Manchester O.A.'s 50 local permanent orienteering courses - but it didn't! To get so far beyond that has required not just the time spent completing the courses, usually after another hard race or tagged on to a long business trip, but much planning and effort in locating permanent orienteering courses, obtaining maps and all other practicalities. Though no doubt much easier now with British Orienteering’s extensive listing on the website, it will take someone with Paul's application and tenacity as well as his fitness to beat what must surely be a world record of 800 and still rising. But we think he enjoyed it!

British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Paul on his incredible achievement! Paul has since added #801 and #802 to his tally already.

Permanent Orienteering Courses are a great way to get outside and go orienteering at a time and place that suits you. Courses offer a huge range of variety, from urban courses in city centres to rural routes through beautiful scenery. They are on your doorstep or further afield helping you to discover new places. Whether it's a walk with the family, exploring the area whilst on holiday or simply just adding variety to a training run, Permanent Orienteering Courses can help you explore.

Permanent Orienteering courses are listed here.

Photo credit:  Mark Sammon, SELOC