Writtle ForestSun 2 Jul

SOS Colour Coded and East Anglan League

Regional level event

Explanation of Event levels

Local events are usually low key and in the 'localised' area, ideal for newcomers to try the sport and Training events are non competitive and used for training and coaching, aimed at members of the club, but they can attract people from neighbouring clubs, and are often ideal for newcomers to try the sport. Regional events attract participants from around the local Region, National events are high quality competitions that will attract people from far away, Major events are Major Events such as a British Championships.

Terrain type: Forest



Officials' Comments

Organiser’s Comments
Thank you to everybody who took part in our Writtle Forest event on Sunday. The forest was in magnificent condition. This is the first time we have been able to get permission from Lord Petre for a summer event in the forest and the strong vegetation growth made the conditions very different and indeed challenging in places when compared with winter.
Thank you to JP as Planner and Graham as Controller for all their hard work; not least the 5.30am start on Sunday morning. The courses they created proved a suitable if tougher than usual challenge for all. A good mix of navigation and running.
Thanks too to the many volunteers who helped make the day run smoothly and without whose contribution the event would not have happened.
Finding suitable parking for Writtle Forest has always been an issue and this year we decided to use Pools Lane. This provided enough space with good access to the forest but it made the logistics difficult to manage, given the longer distances to start, finish and road crossings.
I received one written suggestion to void a control on brown which the team investigated, but as the controller indicates in his report we have decided that the results stand for all courses.
Online entries were slow with only 50% of the final numbers having entered one week before the advertised closing date of midnight on Thursday 27th. This can make it very difficult to print the appropriate number of maps for each of the eight courses. We printed some additional maps and used the late entry functionality of Racesignup for the first time to allow entries after the deadline and also EOD. This was a bit of an experiment and provided some good learnings. In particular it avoided us handling money and bits of paper on the day and avoided being oversubscribed on any course except surprisingly Light Green.

Eddie Banks (Organiser)

Planner’s Comments
This being only my second event as planner threw up a number of challenges from which lessons will be learned going forward. In the first instance I think it best probably to visit the area before putting pen to paper and starting to plan from an ‘Armchair’ perspective unless you know the area very well. If I had visited the area first, I would have immediately identified the difficulties with Ellis Wood and that what were once distinctive tracks and paths had now substantially faded and, in most parts, had been purposefully left to overgrow to put off the public from venturing onto private wood land. This led to several goes and version of courses being penned, with the shorter courses being the most challenging to plan. Another challenge came with the growth of vegetation for this time of year (summer), something that I will have to really think about going forward. In the early stages of planning and visiting the area only the brambles, ferns and bracken were obviously an issue in Ellis wood; and even at the time of marking out the growth of vegetation was only half of what appeared on the day of the event itself. This did cause some head scratching and in hindsight it would probably have been better to have moved some of the controls to other nearby features not obscured by the vegetation. This did lead to a few comments and a couple of complaints, but on the whole most competitors overcame this and the main feedback, me being at download nervously watching people come in and asking, was positive. Many competitors had travelled some distance to the event that we do not normally see at our events. Distances proved to be challenging in setting up such an area particularly when carrying equipment and making multiple trips back and forth from the car, plus finding somewhere safe to park with the kit onboard. A big thank you to Roger Gooding for volunteering to help and if it was not for him setting up Ellis Wood the event would not have happen int time; and as it was did start later than expected by about 20 minutes. I must have clocked up over 30K into two days of preparation and setup having put out some controls the day before. In July and August, just as it is at work for me, resource becomes a problem. We did get it done however, and many thanks to the last-minute help from Steve, Abigail and Jackie who stayed on to help collect all the equipment in after the event. It was a late one. I must thank Graham (Controller) in particular for his patience and guidance and also Eddie (Organiser) for his input and help that went above and beyond just organising and as we worked through the various short course (Ellis Woods) versions and options together. I see this as good teamwork in meeting and overcoming the challenges faced with putting on such an event. As ’Planner’ my only hope is that I did manage to provide an event that was challenging, interesting and enjoyable for all levels.

JP Carraud (Planner)

Controller’s Comments
Thanks to JP for planning and Eddie for organising a summer event in Writtle. Also, a big thank you to those helping on the day and to you as competitors for taking part.There is a new video on the British Orienteering website which is well worth a viewing as it shows the values and importance of volunteering.On the day there were a few constructive criticisms. Regarding the start, in order for all courses to have the same start and experience Ellis Wood it was necessary to have the switchback which can confuse but it was done to ensure the longer courses did not all visit the same first control.There were a few controls sited within areas of high bracken and in hindsight it would probably have been better to make these more visible with the placing of the controls at the edges rather than within. On the basis of viewing the results and timings to controls, I have decided to advise against deleting any of the controls and the results stand.There was a comment about the numbering of a control on the Green course (137) close to another control (127) on a similar feature. Once again in hindsight it would have been better to have completely different numbers on these two controls. However, the vast majority of competitors on this course did not seem to be unduly affected.In spite of these points, I hope you all enjoyed the experience of running through what is a nice woodland area in summer.

Graham Batty (HAVOC), Controller

Last updated: Fri 07 July, 2023


Online entries are open again, including for EOD.

Limits per course is number of maps printed.

Please enter on Racesignup

Final details are available here

Writtle 2023 final details

Location Info

Near: Writtle
Lat,Lng: 51.70630,0.37019
Postcode: CM1 3QL

Open an interactive map in:
GoogleMap - OpenStreetMap - BingMap (OS 50k)

Directions / Parking

Parking will be in the lower part of Pools Lane, Highwood.

Space is limited so please car share if possible. Please contact the organiser if you are bringing a minibus or larger vehicle.

Map / Terrain

Mature ancient woodland, mostly runnable.

Map 1:10,000 (1:5,000 for White, Green & Orange)

Course Information

A full range of courses, colour coded white to brown to suit all ages and range of ability.

For choice of course to qualify for the East Anglian League see EAL rules

Entry Details

Pre-enter online via Racesignup. Entries open 9th June and close Thursday 29th June.

Note! On-line entries have now been reopened limited to number of maps printed. Any EOD will be via Racesignup.

Registration and Start times

Starts from 10.30am to 12.30pm


Toilets available at parking.

Dog restrictions

No dogs allowed in the forest.

Contacts / Officials

Organiser: Eddie Banks: banksy.eddie@gmail.com

Assistant: David Lumby

Planner: JP Carraud

Controller: Graham Batty (HAVOC)

Nearest A&E Hospital

Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford CM1 7ET
NHS Urgent care search

Safety Notes

White Yellow & Orange courses do not cross roads. Please accompany younger children to start/from finish.

Longer courses do cross roads. Please take care! Details on marshalling or time-out will be in final details.