Permanent Orienteering Courses

Last Updated: Fri 28 May 2021

There are a number of Permanent Orienteering Courses (POCs) in Sussex, which can be used to practise on. Whatever your level of experience and fitness, you can devise an activity to suit you using a permanent orienteering course. Add interest to a family walk, explore a site during your holidays or give a fresh challenge to a training run.

Orienteering is by definition an adventure sport and as you become more confident and experienced you will want to choose options that take you off the tracks in search of control sites within woodland or heathland. Please use these facilities sensibly and be aware of your limitations – it is very easy to underestimate the time it will take to complete an orienteering course compared to, say, a Park Run of similar length. Please abide by the club’s general safety advice.

How to use the courses

Maps are available for these courses, which show the location of around 20 controls. A number of possible courses have been suggested at the bottom of each map, however there is nothing to stop you starting from wherever you wish and visiting whichever controls you want in any order.

The controls are marked by square plaques split into one red and one white triangle. Most of these are fixed to posts, benches or trees. On each plaque is a number corresponding to that marked on the map, also on the plaque is a unique letter. Noting down this letter provides proof that you have visited the control. On the map in most cases is a series of boxes, one for each control. Each box contains the number of the control, a description of its location and a space into which to copy the letter from the plaque..

Many of Southdowns Orienteers’ Permanent Orienteering Courses are currently
(Spring-Summer 2020 subject to restrictions on public health grounds) undergoing a
vigorous programme of checking, revision and refurbishment. As maps and courses
are revised, this page will be updated with detailed information about how to obtain a
map and gain access to the area.

Further details of any of these areas and maps, and advice on appropriate activities
for individuals or groups may be obtained from Ed Forman, the club’s permanent
course co-ordinator.

The following locations have up to date maps and well maintained course markers:

Maps and course details available to download from Forestry England

Maps available to download (£4) from or by contacting Tilgate Park Watersports, Tilgate, Crawley RH10 5PQ. Phone 01293 665709. Email

  • Southwater Country Park, Southwater - TQ159256

Maps available to download (£4) from or by contacting Southwater Watersports Centre, Southwater Country Park, Southwater, West Sussex RH13
9UN. Phone: 01403 734424. Email

Maps (choice of three courses) can be downloaded free of charge from here

The following four areas, parks within Brighton and Hove, are usable at present, and
the maps are freely available to download as shown, but they are slightly liable to
vandalism or to other changes that affect the position of the control markers. You
must therefore expect a few control markers to be missing – this will test your
confidence in your map-reading and navigation! We are trying to replace all missing

Maps can be downloaded free of charge from Brighton and Hove City Council.

Maps can be downloaded free of charge from Brighton and Hove City Council.

Maps can be downloaded free of charge from Brighton and Hove City Council.

  • St Ann's Well Gardens, Brighton TQ297048

Maps can be downloaded free of charge from Brighton and Hove City Council.

Maps available at no additional charge to paying visitors to the garden and park.
Enquiries to the visitors centre at Borde Hill. Tel. 01444 450326.

Because of the emergency we have not been able to check that the course is still intact for 2020 but we shall do so as soon as restrictions are lifted, and we believe that last year’s course, controls and map (already available from the visitor centre) will remain usable when the grounds reopen.

  • Blackland Farm, Girlguiding Activity Centre, Grinstead Lane, East Grinstead TQ381336

Maps provided on site to groups or individuals arranging an orienteering activity at the centre. Enquiries tel 01342 810493

The following sites are undergoing revision and repair during Summer 2020 and we expect them to be available for use very shortly after restrictions are lifted. In the meantime please check with Ed Forman (SO POC Co-ordinator) before visiting the locations: he will be able to provide maps for these areas and give advice about which control sites are usable, both for beginners and for more experienced orienteers.

The following sites have older courses where there map updates may be required or controls missing. There is an ongoing programme of work to look at regenerating these courses where feasible.

The following sites have permanent courses in Sussex which are co-ordinated by other clubs:

Maps available from Mole Valley Orienteering Club.

  • Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods, Horsham TQ194314

Maps available from Mole Valley Orienteering Club.

This area is currently (summer 2020) closed for renovation but this link will enable you to order a map when it is reopened.

Visit British Orienteering for more information about permanent orienteering courses nationwide.