SE Night Champs Gravetye WoodsSat 20 November, 2021

Night Orienteering

Night Orienteering

Near: East Grinstead
Level of event: Regional
Type of event: Race, Night



South East Night Champs medals were awarded to those who stayed. Please contact Jane Lambert if you missed your medal.

Controller’s Comments: It was a great pleasure to work with a super team from Southdowns Orienteers as controller for the SE Night Championships and the Regional event. Tim and Linda were excellent organisers and all Tim’s pre events plans really helped when we hit various dilemmas in the ten days leading up to the event. I am sure Tim and Linda will enlighten you more on the many challenges – well done for overcoming them and putting on two great events with all your club members.

As to the mapping and planning I am incredibly impressed with the enormous amount of work put into both tasks for these events by Will Heap – it is a great shame he could not have been at the events during the weekend to see the fruits of all his work. Given it was the first time the area has been used and it was Wills first time mapping I believe he has done a great job on the first edition map. The area has a huge amount of fine detail (both in brown and green shades) and it was always a challenge as to what should and should not be mapped – hopefully the right balance was achieved. The area was always going to be a challenge for a night event as avoiding the bramble areas was a lot harder although every effort was made to minimise their impact. Those who ran in the day could more easily avoid the worst of the bramble much more easily. We tried to achieve a mix of courses between the night and day event without much duplication of controls – this was achieved on the longer courses but more difficult to achieve on the shorter ones – apologies to the Green courses competitors who had a few more duplicates than intended. The overwhelming reaction at the finish was very positive at both events albeit with competitors acknowledging how physically difficult the area was from both a climb and forest floor perspective.

Finally a thank you to all those who stepped in to pick up some of the planners “on the day” role, in particular to Steve and Julia Jarvis – this definitely made my life a lot easier as controller. “

Organiser's Comments: What an amazing couple of days! A very challenging night event for all, and for me, (Tim) a superb run (almost that elusive 'lifetime error-free run') on the sunlit and excellent green course in a new, challenging and interesting forest. Also, writing this, we have organised our first event, learnt loads and had a good time. We've had lots of positive and supportive comments from many happy finishers. Inevitably, a few thought things could be improved here and there (or perhaps they did not have a good run!). It is a brand new area and map, and whilst being without a doubt, a superb first effort, it will iterate and improve over future events, and the few wrinkles here and there will be ironed out.

We were all thinking of Will Heap and his family throughout as they fight the wretched bug. Will was mapper and planner, and his family were all expecting to share in the fruition of all his efforts by helping throughout. Our best wishes for them and for a speedy recovery. As everyone was doing so well with the various helper tasks, I (Tim) was able to walk around, keeping an eye on things and enjoy sending regular photos to Will of happy helpers which he seemed to be enjoying.

Thank you to all those cheerful and willing volunteers from Southdowns who made it successful and great fun.

A special 'call out' of thanks to Steve and Julia, who over the last week took on the planner's activities that Will must have sorely missed - including placing the controls, and organising their collection. This in addition to the massive task of leading the parking 'mission'. Being, on an untested area, to estimate how many cars we could fit in, visit the car park several times, and finally, to deliver on their estimate and organise all the parking today.

Di and Mike Turner have been a constant support throughout, sensitively sorting out the helpers, always providing encouragement and plentiful cake, and picking up many tasks at the events. Anna and Peter Chapman also anticipated many critical tasks and quietly sorted them. And as ever, Joe Barrett put many hours in, leading the SI team to get all the electronics efficiently sorted, and the results up very quickly on the interweb thing.

Gordon Parker (from SLOW) did a wonderful job as controller. He visited the forest many times with Will, helping with both the map and the courses. Over the last two days he personally checked every control, and ran 20kms (starting at 7am this morning). He gave us a huge amount of help and advice too on all aspects of the events, with smiles and good humour throughout (and provided some very sexy road signs which you must have noticed!). Thank you Gordon.

Linda and I thoroughly enjoyed our first effort at organising. It is an enjoyable role, if there is sufficient time for preparation in advance. And so fascinating the unexpected challenges along the way! Such as taking a call from the toilet deliverers early Friday morning because a new lock had inexplicably appeared on the gate to the car park. We are lucky to have had superb support from the landowners and agents and the forestry manager throughout. Fortunately I was able to get hold of the forestry manager immediately (it was his day off and he was off to his son's school), and he drove up and removed the gate from its hinges!

Thank goodness we arranged professional medical care, which was unfortunately much needed, as they speedily helped one competitor who significantly ran out of 'puff'. Our best wishes are with him too.

Our overall reflection, now home and all settled, is of having had a superb fun out in beautiful autumnal scenery having great fun with supportive and like-minded friends.


Is a web app for sharing and comparing orienteering routes. You can draw your own route or upload a GPS track from your watch. It also allows you to watch an animated replay with a simulated mass start.

Pre event info

South-East Night Championships - Saturday 20th November. Followed by regional event 21st November.

A new extensive orienteering area in the beautiful surroundings of Gravetye Manor.

Entries via Racesignup

Night Regional Series Info

Open to everyone. These events take place in the dark and are open to members from different clubs. A good torch is required for these events, along with a backup torch. Restrictions may be in place for juniors entering these events.

Volunteer here

Enquiries here

Location Info

Nearest town: East Grinstead

* Postcodes are not very precise in some areas, so don't rely on them for an exact location.

Directions / Parking


The entrance to the car park is on the West side of Vowels Lane at:

What3Words twinkled.tabs.annoys

Ordnance Survey grid reference TQ359349

Nearest post code RH194LL

All approaching cars must turn left into the entrance and therefore approach on Vowels Lane from its South end where it forms a T junction with the Turners Hill/West Hoathly road (What3Words crackling.pine.defaults, grid reference TQ 350340).

Please take great care when turning off the road into the parking area. See this map!

The car park is a square of hard standing 300m down the track. Please follow instructions from marshals.

Route to start

Walk 480m to the start. The route crosses Vowels Lane which carries fast moving traffic. Minors under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Exit the SW corner of the car park, and follow the tapes, crossing back over the vehicle access track from Vowels Lane, and along a 50m section, inside a line of traffic cones, facing the incoming vehicles, to arrive at Vowels Lane. Take great care crossing Vowels Lane. Pass through the entrance on the opposite side of the lane and follow the tapes to the start.

Map here


At the SI/Download tent near to the finish on the route back to the car park. Please report to download even if you do not finish the course.


To the car park by retracing your earlier route, again taking great care crossing Vowels Lane and along the first 50m of the vehicle track to the car park. Minors must be accompanied by an adult on the route back to the car park crossing back over Vowels Lane.

Public Transport

The nearest train station is East Grinstead – 3 miles, 20 minutes cycle.

Course Information

E-Punching. The control boxes will be enabled for SI contactless swiping, except for the start and finish boxes which must be ‘dibbed’.

Control descriptions. Will be available in the start boxes.

Safety bearing. North West until you reach Vowels lane, then SW to assembly. Walk in the woods, not on the road.

U16's recommended to carry a mobile phone.

Full leg cover, whistle and a spare torch compulsory for all. Cagoules may be required. Footwear suitable for muddy conditions.

SEOA night championships courses.

These courses are open to non SEOA members also.

Medals will be awarded to the first three qualifying SEOA members in each of the following categories: M/W 16,18, 20-40,45-50, 55-60, 65-75, 80+. To qualify, SEOA members must enter the applicable course for their age as below.

Saturday night







M20-40, M45-50




M18, M55-60

W20-40, W45-50




M16, M65-75, M80+

W16,W18,W55-60, W65-75, W80+



Entry Details

Entries via Racesignup


Before 8th November SO and BOF members £10. Non BOF £12.

Before 15th November SO and BOF members £11. Non BOF £13.

Before 19th November SO and BOF members £12. Non BOF £14.


Before 19th November £5. (SO JUNIORS FREE)

Dibber hire: £1 old SI-card (50p juniors), £2 SIAC (£1 Juniors)


No entry on the day.

Start Times

From 17:00 pm - 18:00 pm. Courses close 20:00 p.m. Choose a timed slot on pre-entry

Map Details

Newly mapped area
1:10.000 map by Will Heap using LIDAR data. 5m contours and on waterproof paper.

Terrain Description

Gravetye Estate offers varied woodland terrain with a good network of paths, open fields, decent amounts of climb and a good selection of features. It is a physical area in all the right ways and hopefully a very enjoyable challenge.

Much of the woodland is runnable but often surrounded by 2 or 3 metres of brambles. You never have to travel far to find a way through.

Woodland density varies subtly and changes in runnability on the map shouldn’t be relied upon for fine navigation.

Fences. Many of the fields and paths are edged by ruined fences in varying degrees of repair. Caution must be taken when approaching all ruined fences to avoid injury.

Many depressions fill with water after heavy rain and might look like wet pits.

Log piles are not mapped - DO NOT CLIMB

Holly bushes mapped as small distinct trees when in isolation.

Dog restrictions

Allowed in the car park and start/finish areas, please keep them on a lead.


Toilets in the main parking area. Enquiries, first aid, and download, are in, or adjacent to, the small hard standing parking area very close (less than 80m) from the start and finish. A small shelter tent will be erected in this area which can also be used as a kit drop.


Gravetye Manor was built in 1598. Today it is an award winning hotel and Michelin starred restaurant surrounded by one of the most beautiful gardens in England set in the middle of a 750 acre estate. In 1884, the estate became the home of the great gardener William Robinson (1838 -1935) who laid out the garden we see today, the surrounding woodland, and also built the famous, and unique, oval walled garden. Robinson was the champion of ‘wild gardening’, a concept more popular than ever today. His legacy is fiercely protected by renowned head gardener Tom Coward who in turn works closely with executive chef George Blogg in providing the very best of seasonal food for the restaurant. The gardens can be visited by booking a tour and the estate, with views of the manor, is criss-crossed by public footpaths

Kingscote Vineyard also borders the estate and is well worth visiting - after your run.

Contacts / Officials

Planner: Will Heap

Organiser: Linda & Tim Hulley

Controller: Gordon Parker

Photo Gallery

click/tap photos for a larger version

Download Tent

Download Tent