Essex Stragglers Orienteering Society (SOS)


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Baddow Ridge Broaks Castle Park Chalkney Danbury Fordham
Hatfield High Woods Hylands Layer, Pods, Conyfield Woods Notley Writtle

Organisers' Manual - Venue Notes

More details useful to the Fixtures Sectretary and others considering the availability and suitability of venues will be found in this document . Contact the webmaster for the password ( which you will also need for some of the other documents on this page).

Baddow Ridge

Land ownership is complex - see this map and this document.

Planners should have regard to the sensitive areas marked on this map and liaise with Neil Bedford, Senior Reserves Manager, Essex Wildlife Trust at an early stage in the planning process.

Key to map -
Sensitive areas - Red
Fenced areas - Purple
minimal intervention - Green
Private farm - yellow.

Baddow Ridge, 19 November 2008 - Organiser's feedback (Dave Skinner)
Learning points and recommendations:

  • A lot of signage was required for this event, primarily because courses cross roads and because the area is used by horse riders, mountain bikers etc. So a lot of 'Caution Runners' signs. Erecting signs took longer than I thought it would - next time try to erect most in advance of event day
  • Running an event at Baddow demands a large number of helpers - in particular a number of road marshalls are required. The help team was necessarily spread over a large area - communication difficult therefore and handover between shifts took longer then usual where helpers were located a considerable distance from assembly. Club resources were very stretched. Recruit early!
  • Use of Cedar Park was ideal for route to Start. On this occasion because there were sheep in the field it was less suitable for the String Course - lots of muck! Note that keys for gates to Cedar Park need to be obtained from the owner (Fixtures Secretary has contact details) and that the gates have no closing mechanism when unlocked - a 'Gate Monitor' had to be appointed to ensure the sheep did not escape!
  • The Start on Lingwood Common worked fine though the pre-start area was cramped. I arranged with Barnardiston for them to spread the arrival of their runners at the Start - this seemed to work well and should be encouraged for all events.
  • Two portaloos seemed the right number for the event. Delivery by Euroloo was problematic - consider using alternative supplier.

Broaks Wood

Andrew Cordle holds the Forestry Commission gate key.

No dogs on school premises.

School do not seem to want anyone on the old field area across road (the grass is too long!)

The school have also said not to run on pitches, so the effective area of map is limited to the FC woods and the field behind the sports hall.

The sports hall has two sets of power sockets - so no need for a generator. However, which set to use is problematic; the one nearest the entrance is handy for returning runners, especially in limiting the amout of mud deposited, but the SI team felt that with being on route to toilets they were frequently interupted by people asking questions not related to their task at the busy data entry time.

Castle Park

A set of 20 vandal-resistant controls are held in the Club's equipment store.

Chalkney Wood

Andrew Cordle holds the Forestry Commission gate key.

Feedback from Dave Skinner after the February 2010 event -

Parking at Lamberts Farm can be restricted by weather conditions. The owner is sensitive to the possibilities of grass/scrub land and tracks being rutted in wet conditions. However this parking area is considerably preferable to the only known alternative - Forestry Commission tracks in the woods - at the time of this event these were deeply rutted and probably unusable .

The lay-by on the right just before the designated parking areas must not be used.

Danbury Parks

So many activities take place at Danbury, involving so many staff that it is very difficult to be sure of where will be safe on the day, and it is necessary to enquire very thoroughly.

Fordham Hall Estate

The WT car park can hold about 25 cars - just about enough for the New Years Novelty event, with a few cars on the street or verges. You could ask about having the barrier key for additional parking.

Road crossings can be dangerous. A lot of the access is on bends, which are fine for crossing in one direction, but not in the other.

Hatfield Forest

Advise horseriders in advance about the event.

See this Document for procedures, restrictions and access and parking contact details, and this map for parking options.

There is a tap for replenishing the water for squash in the vicinity of the Shell House.

See this document for options for parking to the West.

High Woods

Fron Dave Skinner, October 2016

Car Parking is main decision - three main options:
- Chanterelle public car park - fairly small but the approach road (Chanterelle) offers additional free parking
- Grahams Plumbing, Mason Road - large car park - unused on Sundays when Grahams is closed
- Gilberd School - good size car park.

Toilets - provided if using Gilberd School as the event base. Portaloos required for a Level C event or above if using Grahams or Chanterelle but it is required that they are delivered and retrieved on the event day. There are toilets in the Highwoods Visitor Centre but this is likely to be at least 1Km from event centre/Start

Grahams Plumbing has a Goods-In Yard beyond the main showroom - this provides a good base for Registration, Enquiries and Download which can be sited underneath a canopy

If using Grahams or Gilberds it is likely that a fair amount of signage/taping will be required to get competitors from car park to Start - allow plenty of time for this.

Hylands Park

The Stables Tea Room is open every day from 8-4.30 and serves a wide range of drinks and food. Well worth adding to any flyers.

Feedback from Dave Skinner after the 2010 Stragglers Relays -

The area beyond the toilet block which has traditionally been used for car parking is no longer accessible. An adventure play facility is being built there. The adjacent car park and the parking area before the toilet block are perfectly adequate for our needs.

Depending on whether gates are locked it may be possible to gain access to the field between the main car park and the toilet block for delivery of equipment to the Start area usually used.

Use of Hylands is becoming more expensive and depends on number of entrants - minimum appears to be £90.

Layer, Pods, and Conyfield Woods

Ask Jack about these out-of-bounds areas in Later Wood.

See this map of the area around the woods, with this key and this list of contacts.

Great Notley Country Park

Rangers still friendly and keen for the park to be used for a variety of activities including night events.

Quite a number of people in the park until dusk. People come and go to the sports area and buildings to the north east of the visitor centre during the evening.

Writtle Forest

Aurora Field archery Club use part of the forest, and need to be liased with! see this email.


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