Orienteering courses in Prospect Park

Looking for something new to do outdoors?  Orienteering is an exciting outdoor activity that exercises mind and body, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The aim is to navigate between checkpoints or controls marked on a special orienteering map as quick as you can. There is no set route so the skill and fun come from trying to find the best way to go.

Three new courses have been created for Prospect Park so that people can try out orienteering. You can find out more information at the Ranger Station, just downhill from the main car park in Prospect Park. There are 3 courses: long (1.8 km), medium and also a short course (1 km) suitable for buggies (although it is on grass and paths). Expect to take 20-60 minutes on the longest course. There is also a new course covering Reading West streets using the locations of the “Beat boxes” from the Beat the Street game that ran in autumn 2023. This course is a “score course” which means that you have one hour to reach as many control locations as possible and return to your starting point. You can try this course as many times as you like. Under 16s should be accompanied by an adult on this course.

You can download the course maps from Find Your Way. Printed maps are available at the Ranger Station, but you can also print your own to use on the course.

They are “virtual courses”. Virtual orienteering is using a smart phone or GPS smartwatch to complete a course of virtual checkpoints spread throughout an area such as a town, park or forest. Mix up your usual routes or explore somewhere new with courses for all ages and fitness levels around the UK – find them via the Find Your Way website. You can do a course as an individual or go round as a family, running or walking. The courses have no specific signs on the ground and are open 24/7 so you can fit in a course any time you want! The beauty of the courses is deciding your own route between the checkpoints, can you find the best way between them?

Download the free MapRun app at home to have the best experience when taking part in the orienteering activity. Once you have the app, fill in some simple details about yourself, select ‘Events Near Me’, choose ‘FYW’ and download the Prospect Park courses that you would like to do. When you are in the park and ready to start, just click ‘Go to Start’ and then walk to the start! Your phone should beep when you reach the start point – go!

The Find Your Way website has an excellent “How To Guide” to help you get started with MapRun and how to use it on the course. Find Your Way is a project run by British Orienteering.

You can take part in the orienteering activity without using the free MapRun app, but we recommend that you do use it. You can download the orienteering maps in advance, meaning you will not need to use mobile data on the course, except when you finish the course and briefly upload your finish time. You will need GPS location enabled.

The courses were created by Berkshire Orienteers (BKO) – the local orienteering club for Berkshire. If you are interested in taking orienteering further in the forests surrounding Reading then please visit our BKO website or BKO FaceBook page to find out about events and contact the club.

Last updated on 19/01/2024