Did you know there are several permanent orienteering maps which you can download so you can have a go at Orienteering in Berkshire? We decided to try out one of the orienteering courses and had great fun finding the markers around Lily Hill Park in Bracknell. We have walked here on numerous occasions but who knew there was an orienteering course… it’s taught me a lesson, to be more observant in future as there are lots of hidden gems about!
The concept of the permanent orienteering courses are fantastic as they are completely free of charge to do and a great way to get you out in the fresh air and moving. They also allow you to practise map reading, using a compass (if you choose to use one), identifying landmarks whilst recognising and reading letters and numbers.
A top tip: remember to take a pen!
How does it work?
You download an orienteering map, instructions and answer sheet online and print them off. Then head to your chosen orienteering site, navigate around the course on the map to find the posts with letters and numbers on them. A little tip, the wooden posts have a red and white plaque on them and they are low to the ground, at first we were looking for wooden posts around the park at waste height! Also, some posts are quite well hidden, so keep looking when you are at the location if you can’t see them!
The locations on the map are numbered and you need to match the numbers on the map to the number on the post, which reveals the letter. You can then note down the letter next to the relevant number and clue on the answer sheet which is on the orienteering map.
The aim is to collect all the letters to spell a word – the answer is all jumbled up but the answer sheet gives you the correct order of the letters to reveal the word. Unscrambling the letters and putting them in order is also an additional activity which we did when we got home.
I have to say we were perhaps a bit too ambitious on our first orienteering outing! Lily Hill Park has 20 clues to search for. We walked for a good hour and still had 8 clues left to find, so are returning for round two! However some of the orienteering maps like Ambarrow Court and Popes Meadow have less clues to search for, so in hindsight this should have been where we started on our orienteering journey.
Where can I download an orienteering map?
There are permanent orienteering courses are at the below locations; click the link to access the map, instructions and answer sheet.
Apparently, you can also buy Orienteering Maps for Black Park and Langley Park in Slough for £1.50 – £2, but I have not tired to do this myself to double check. Click here for more information.
Who is the orienteering suitable for?
The orienteering maps involved walking, identifying numbers and letters so I would say it was suitable for age 5 plus.However, I am sure a 4 year old would still enjoy the adventure too. My toddler didn’t join us because although a great walker, it was just too far but some of the course would be buggy friendly like Lily Hill Park, so if you still have a little one who sits in a buggy it could be an option.
The Orienteering Courses would also be fantastic for older children and they could take responsibility for the map reading and navigation, this was something I did with a younger child. We didn’t use a compass and just navigated the park by landmarks, however an older child might like to try it with a compass.
Top tip: start with a shorter orienteering course first, this will hopefully mean you can complete a course in one go.
When we did the course at Lily Hill Park we could not find marker number 1, we are going to have to go back and look again! Also the plaque, number 16 was missing.
If you enjoy walking, check out these Family Friendly Walks in Berkshire.
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Click here to view the Berkshire Mummies disclaimer. Berkshire Mummies does not take any responsibility for any missing orienteering markers. Please follow Government Guidance with regards to Covid-19.