Permanent Orienteering Courses

Getting a map

If you have come here from a link on one of our flyers or the QR code on a post, head over to the Go Orienteering Course Finder and search for your nearest Permanent Orienteering Course. Most allow you to download a map and get started for free.

What is a Permanent Orienteering Course?

A Permanent Orienteering Course is a set of plaques often on wooden posts or other features (typically 20-30 of them), spread around a park or woodland, together with a map showing where they all are. Your challenge is to discover these checkpoints, in forests, heathlands, parks and green spaces across the UK.

Each post or plaque is called a control, which has a number and a code on it. The control number is shown next to the circle on the map which matches the control on the ground; writing down (or recording) the matching code is proof you’ve been there.

Below is an example of one of CLOK’s permanent orienteering course maps from Flatts Lane Woodland Country Park.

Some Permanent Orienteering Courses also have QR codes on the markers and have also been set up as virtual courses, which used together with a downloadable app on a smartphone, can produce timings and course results which you can upload later. See Virtual Orienteering Courses for more details.

How to use a Permanent Orienteering Course

On the back of every map, or provided separately, you will find suggested courses – lists of controls to go to, in what order, and how far and difficult each course would be. You can:

  • See how long it takes to visit every control
  • See how many controls you can visit in a chosen time
  • Improve your fitness with training exercises – start and visit a single control and come back (stars); or go out for two or three controls and come back (loops).

This video introduces how to use a Permanent Orienteering Course, and shows you some handy tips on getting started.

Your time, your pace, your adventure

A Permanent Orienteering Course is the perfect way for getting active, enjoying the scenery and green spaces. You can take part on your own, or with family or friends. You can just use it as a chance to get outdoors at your leisure or treat it as a competitive time trial. The combination of physical and mental exercise often in stunning locations is like no other, as you can find, navigate and complete courses at any time, at your own pace.

To get started, head over to the Go Orienteering Course Finder and search for your nearest Permanent Orienteering Course. Most allow you to download a map and get started for free.

Taking it further

If you enjoy Permanent Orienteering Courses, you may want to try a local club event, where electronic controls are placed out on individual, unique courses, which vary in difficulty and length, with something to suit everyone from beginner to expert. To find out more see our pages for Entering an event and Completing a course, and head over to the list of CLOK events to choose your next adventure!