Orienteering – the thought sport. 

Have you tried orienteering? This is a fantastic sport which is suitable for young or old, family or individual. The nature reserve has two permanent courses whilst tailored sessions can be arranged so as to help those new to the sport. Orienteering at Watchtree is in high demand with many schools and groups. Did you know, the local schools orienteering league hold an event at Watchtree every year with over 140 children taking part!

Orienteering combines running (or walking!), map reading, thinking, decision-making and many other physical and mental challenges.

Orienteering sessions can be great fun and for some courses you dont even need to read a map?

Feature on an orienteering session with Caldew school (Dalston)

During one week in September 2014 109 Caldew School students visited Watchtree for orienteering lessons. Beginning with symbol recognition the students learnt how to understand and interpret the orienteering style maps. Map orientation is an often neglected art of orienteering and the students were encouraged to move quickly and in different directions – all the time holding the map so that it corresponds with the land around them. The first taster course was only a short one – 5 controls just a short distance from the starting point – but the students had to arrange themselves in the correct order (this was a relay) and as the students barely knew one another their team work and communication skills were tested. By the end of the week each course was keenly contested with each year group hoping to beat their rivals from previous days. At the end of each session the students had the challenge of finding just four of the controls from the ‘large’ permanent course….easy on paper of course. The students loved the challenges and it seemed apparent that some of the students could take orienteering to a new level and maybe join their local clubs! The feedback from the teachers was excellent;

‘Hi Tim, we just wanted to say another big thank you for allowing us to work at Watchtree with our new year 7s last week. The feedback has been positive from both pupils and parents’ (Teacher, Caldew School, Dalston)

Orienteering covers many National Curriculum targets including maths, geography and physical education and is a popular and fun way to learn new skills and develop teamwork.

Watchtree has a Qualified coach who runs sessions for:

  • Beginner through to advanced
  • Schools and youth groups and indeed any group
  • Map Reading, compass and navigation workshops

Contact Staff on 01228 712539 or email wnr@watchtree.co.uk