SOG A3Newtimber HillSat 22 October, 2022

Credit: Mike Turner

Near: Pyecombe
Level of event: Local
Type of event: Race



What about those views?! Did anyone get a chance to look up and think ‘Wow! How good is
this.’ Honestly, Newtimber is pretty hard to beat for views of the Downs, the Weald and the
sea.. No, OK, you were looking at your map/exhausted/lost/concentrating (as all good
orienteers should) on your next control /attack point.

Thanks to everybody for coming out in such wonderful numbers for a run on the hill. Tough
wasn’t it?! And the cows (mainly bullocks) made it interesting. There were hundreds of
them out last night in the high, top field and then this morning they’d all disappeared. I was
up and out at 6 oclock to hang kites and put control boxes on stakes. Where had they all
gone. Had the farmer taken pity? No, they were in the wood. Sleeping. I’m not sure who got
the bigger fright! And it would appear they’d been having a bit of fun in the night too. Two
stakes had been knocked over.

Planning a SOG is such an adventure. Hours and hours of preparation go into it – from
drafting the courses at home on the computer using the extraordinary PurplePen software
to getting out, walking the courses, and checking the controls. How’s access to the control?
How’s the vegetation? Does the map need changing/updating? Vegetation is ever changing.
Just a couple of years ago you could run clean across the top of the hill. Now, there’s a low,
evil covering of bramble waiting to bite your ankles. On the other hand, the beautiful long
ride through the wood, that some of you will have got on to today, had become a cattle-
churned morass of encroaching brambles and dead trees. But with ash-dieback, the
National Trust have had working parties up clearing it and now once again it is a thing of
beauty. Or at least until the bloody cows get back on it!

The courses were challenging today, so congratulations to all, especially to the newer
members, and the younger members who sailed round the Yellow and Orange courses with
little problem. Control 16 caught out a fair few on the Green course and I suspect classic
oxygen deprivation for the oversight. Up hill, on a line between 15 and 17, towards the end
of the course, it was always going to catch someone out. I just didn’t suspect so many! Bad
luck guys. Newtimber is part of the Downs and as such it’s going to mean some unavoidable
running up and down, not forgetting that climb to the start. Come on, we could have had
the start down by the footbridge. What are you complaining about!
Always a bit of fun. Who was quickest from the final control, shared by all courses, to the
finish? Ed and Garry, both running Blue, smashed 19 seconds. And the quickest female? In
23 seconds, the same time as Tommy who was the overall winner on Blue. Congratulations
to Sophia Bowes running Orange! A sprint champion of the future there I suspect.
And then there are the thank yous. Honestly, do you know how many people from the club,
all volunteers, it takes to put on an event? Thanks to Steve Blount for overseeing my courses
and as always making some excellent suggestions and generally making sure I dotted all the
‘I’s crossed all the ‘t’s. To Tommy and Garry for running up (!) to the start with things I’d
forgotten (3 kites for controls out on the Blue course, which had already started, in case any
early starters were wondering why I was a little panicked). To Will, Kate and Tommy for
coming round with me to collect controls at the end of the day. To Tim, Linda and Kate for
welcoming newcomers down at Download. To Di for coming out with me last night to place
all the control stakes and for being such a joyous presence on the start (did she sign you up to volunteer?!).

And finally and most importantly, Joe and Penny with help today from Jane and Les on download.

It's been a long, enormously satisfying day. Thank you one and all.
If you have any comments about today’s courses, nice or nasty, do let me know. As
orienteers we’re all looking to improve. Equally as planners. Especially relatively new
planners like myself


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.

SOG Series Info

SOGs are friendly club events where children and newcomers are very welcome. Yellow and Orange courses are suitable for children to run on their own with a bit of practice. Adults are welcome to shadow children until they are confident to go on their own. Green and Blue courses are run or walked by any age group - you can race competitively or just enjoy the woodland.

There are two series of events - autumn and spring of approximately 8 events each. Electronic timing (SI) is used.

Help on the day always appreciated.

Volunteer here

Enquiries here

Location Info

Nearest town: Pyecombe

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

Directions / Parking

What3Words plans.column.rattler Postcode BN45 7ED.

Arrive at Pyecombe from the A23 (north or southbound) or the A273 (southbound). Park on the road running parallel to, and just north of the A23 between the A23 slip-road and Pyecombe village, marked London Road on the map below. What3Words will take you to the beginning of the road. Please be considerate to residents and do not park close to driveways or beyond the SI tent. There is plenty of space along either side of the road before reaching any houses. There will be no parking marshalls. Please park as close as possible to other cars to maximise space.

Once parked, walk NW along the road until you come to the SI tent and the footbridge that will take you up on to the hill. The route to the start will be marked with hanging strips of red/white tape. It is approx 1km with 100m climb. Start and Finish are close together so the same route back down to download.

Public Transport

Bus service to Pyecombe

Course Information

Blue 6.1km 185m;

Green 4.6km 170m;

Short Green 3k 70m;

Orange 2.3km 60m;

Yellow 1.4km 15m

Entry Details

Pre-entry via Newcomers are welcome and eligible for a free trial session - if you'd like to reserve a map or discuss the event please email our membership secretary.


SO/BOF Senior members £5.00 (non-members £6),

Juniors £2.50 (SO Juniors free - use discount code SOjuniors).

'Dibber' hire: Electronic punching (SI) chips are available to hire. SIAC (contactless): £2, non-SIAC (not contactless) £1. Half price for juniors.

Registration open

9:45 to 10:45

Start Times

10:00 to 11:00. Courses close at 12:30.

Map Details

1:10000, contours 5m. Partial updates 2020, 2021, 2022.

Terrain Description

A downland hill with open grassland, gorse and ancient woodland managed by the National Trust. The courses are very runnable but inevitably involve a bit of climb. There are extensive views inland to the Surrey Hills; along the Downs to Devils Dyke and beyond to the west; out to sea to the south; and across to Wolstonbury and the Jack and Jill windmills to the east.
Newtimber Hill is a Site of Specific Scientific Interest home to rare plants and butterflies. There are also old trackways (the 'Devil's Stairs'), a disused chalk quarry, a restored dew pond and possibly Britain's tallest native tree (beech) at 44m, 200 years old.

Dog restrictions

Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads where signs indicate livestock are grazing.


Farm shop and café at Wayfield Park Farm (you walk past it on the way to the start) and a pub in Pyecombe. No facilities at the finish or the download/parking area.


Safety Bearing: Climb to the top of the hill and head to the NE corner where the finish is located. Young children should be supervised by their Parents/Guardians when crossing the A23 pedestrian bridge. The area is used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders please give them space to pass safely. Cattle may be out on the area. They are very used to walkers/runners/cyclists but if in any doubt PLEASE go round them rather than charging through the middle. Gaiters recommended. Off the paths on the open summit area, there is currently low-lying bramble to slow progress.

Contacts / Officials

Planner: Mike Turner



Photo Gallery

click/tap photos for a larger version

Credit: Mike Turner

Credit: Mike Turner