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Orienteering in the New Forest

The British Orienteering Championships 2009 are being held this weekend in the New Forest. It is nearly 30 years since the British Championships were last held in the beautiful countryside of the New Forest. The weather forecast for the weekend is currently for cloud and a maximum temperature of 10 °C.

If you would like to find out more about the sport of orienteering, please see our Introduction to Orienteering.

Orienteering World Champions

Orienteering World Champions with Gold Medals

Orienteering World Champions. Source: Soren Andersson.


Taking part in the British Orienteering Championships 2009 long distance event will be world champion orienteers including Graham Gristwood and Jamie Stevenson. At the 2008 Orienteering World Championships, Graham Gristwood, Jon Duncan and Jamie Stevenson won a gold medal for Great Britain in the Men’s Relay Event.

Orienteering Long Distance Championships

On Saturday 28th of February the British Orienteering Long Distance Championships, UK Cup, Future Champions Cup Race and Veterans Home International Selection Race will take place at Hampton Ridge and Islands Thorns Inclosure.

Parking is in a level field off the B3078 at Grid Ref SU167141, the nearest postcode is SP6 2JJ. Please see the map below. Start times for entrants are from 09.30 – 13.00.

The area through which the orienteering championships will be taking place is varied and attractive. The terrain is dominated by the broad east-west Hampton Ridge in the south. The ground itself consists of heathland covered mostly in low, runnable heather and some gorse.

The wide valleys to north and south have extensive areas of marsh, with natural and man-made drainage ditches. The terrain also includes mixed conifer plantations and deciduous woodland, the latter being particularly open and runnable.

There are also areas of typical New Forest natural woodland interspersed with, and merging into, clearings. The area was a World War 2 practice bombing range and it has numerous bomb craters! There are lots of tracks and paths with many possibilities for route choice on and off the path. Generally the whole area is very runnable and high speeds are anticipated.

The map above shows the location of the car park near Godshill. Hampton Ridge can be seen to the east south east.

Detailed information about The British Orienteering Championships 2009 can be downloaded in a pdf file, from the British Orienteering website.

British Orienteering Relay Championships

On Sunday 1st of March the British Orienteering Relay Championships will take place at Beaulieu Estate and Beaulieu Heath.

The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is a major tourist attraction and is well signed posted.

The estate land, owned by Lord Montague of Beaulieu, has not been previously used for orienteering. The shorter courses will remain on the Estate land whilst the longer courses will extend onto the heath. The Estate land is gently undulating and the vegetation consists of a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees, with intricate areas of rhododendrons. The heath land is mainly flat and very runnable.

Good Luck Orienteers!

We would like to wish all participants the best of luck for all of the British Orienteering Championships events that they are taking part in!

And Finally…

Please be aware that many New Forest roads are not fenced and you may encounter ponies, donkeys or cattle on the road or roadside at any time. The animals are not road-savvy, so drive cautiously and adhere to the 30/40mph limit in the New Forest.

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