What is Orienteering?

Orienteering is an exciting outdoor adventure sport suitable for all ages and fitness levels that exercises mind and body.

The aim is to navigate between checkpoints or controls marked on a special orienteering map. There is no set route so the skill and fun come from trying to find the best way to go.

You can orienteer in the town or countryside, including forests and open downs or moorland. You can run, walk or jog by yourself, as a pair or family group. Come in clothing to suit the weather and ease of movement. You may encounter some mud or wet areas. Trainers or footwear with some grip are suggested and a change of footwear for when you finish.

Have a look at these videos to find out more here

How to Get Started

  • Try do-it-yourself orienteering on a permanent orienteering course at either Lydiard or Coate Water Parks
  • Come along to one of our NWO events and informal activities You will be most welcome. All our events have something for beginners, children and families.

Permanent Courses

The big advantage of a permanent orienteering course is that you can go when you want and walk, jog or run around a course to try out orienteering by yourself or with friends or family. The locations are  Lydiard Park near M4 junction 16 (see map) or Coate Water Country Park near M4 junction 15 ( see map )
A permanent orienteering course is made up of special wooden control posts with a code number and a code letter. You can use these permanent posts to try out many different orienteering routes or courses. On an easy course, usually no more than a mile long, you will try to find from six to ten posts in order, usually following tracks, paths, ditches etc. The more advanced courses may be longer and you will try to find posts in places where you may need more careful map reading. To try any of these courses you will need to obtain an orienteering map, on which the course is marked and other details about the courses
To get an e-mailed copy of the map and instructions free of charge, please read our Terms and Conditions. Email poc@northwilts.org.uk stating that you agree with the Terms and Conditions and giving your name and the group (if any) that you represent and the number of adults and the number of children in your party. We will respond as soon as we can.

Lydiard Park Post

Lydiard Park Post

A post at Coate Water

A post at Coate Water

NWO Orienteering Events

Come and find out about orienteering at any of our events. Orienteering coaches and experienced club members will be there to get you started.

Just come in outdoor clothing suitable for the weather. Bring a compass if you have one but it is not necessary for the first time. You may try orienteering as an individual or as a group of two or more. Contact the organiser in advance if you want to know more

Types of Event

All our events and activities are open to everyone and there will always be a course or activity suitable for beginners, families, children, individual’s and experienced orienteers with someone on hand to help.

Try Orienteering An event especially aimed at anyone (individuals, families or groups) to try out one or two easy courses and find out what orienteering is all about. Members of NWO will be on hand to explain and get you started.

Local Events These are fairly informal and  “colour-coded” to suit a range of individuals and groups. These are usually yellow, orange, green and blue courses. Yellow or Orange courses usually suit beginners

Full Colour-Coded (Regional) Events. Eight colour-coded courses (white, yellow, orange, light green, short green, green, blue and brown) are offered unless otherwise specified. There may be additional courses and there is usually a String Course for young children. The easier courses are suitable for beginners.

Urban An event in a local town using streets, alleyways, open spaces, school grounds and other urban areas. There will be an off road course for young juniors.

Score Events An informal one-hour event with about 27 controls, including 7 of Yellow standard. In a score event you have an hour to find as many controls as possible. Each control earns you a number of points.

Night Events These are held just after nightfall and you will need a torch (preferably a head-torch). You have an hour to find as many controls as possible. Each control earns you a number of points. There are a number of easy controls for beginners. If you are new to orienteering you may wish to try out some day events first.

Informal Events NWO offer very informal local events suitable for experienced orienteers and beginners. These could have a variety of formats. There is currently a series of street orienteering events in local towns

Summer Relay The relay is one of a series of team relay events run in the South West. A limited number of different colour-coded courses will be available for beginners and orienteers not in a team. We usually have a simple “small team” format.

Training Activities There is an annual series of training sessions run by club coaches and suitbsle for all abilities.

Some Activities for Beginners

  • Learn about the main features of an orienteering map, such as the scale, colours and symbols.
  • Learn how to “set” a map
  • Do some easy “mini-courses” of one or two controls only – star exercises
  • Try a short, easy course of about six controls
  • Try a longer, more challenging course if you are already a runner or walker with some map reading experience