Belhus Woods Country Park Visitor Centre, HAVOC
Belhus Woods Country Park Visitor Centre, Source: HAVOC

Belhus Woods SWELL

(SWELL #3)

Sat 10th Dec 2016

Type of event: Regional
Type of terrain: Parkland, Woodland
League: SWELL

Information updated: 11th Dec



Planners Report - Michael Muggeridge

Apart from a few splashes of TD4, most of Belhus is barely above Orange standard, making it traditionally very difficult to plan courses that will challenge an experienced orienteer. However, orienteering has evolved in recent years and I have learnt from urban events how to make a TD3 leg difficult.

For all of its limitations, Belhus has plenty of scope to employ these devious tactics. I was determined to keep you thinking, and anyone turning up expecting to just run round punching controls, would come to grief on Belhus’ thorns. Most of these legs were on the Blue, but all of the Green courses had some thrown in as well.

As I could not be everywhere, I concentrated on leg 121-110 (3-4 on Short Green and Blue). This was designed to catch out people who did not plan ahead and simply turned left at no. 3, not noticing that the combination of dense thickets and the out of bounds area made the direct route impassable. In fact the optimum line was to head west across the short mown grass, through the light green forest, meeting the path at the northern end of the hedge. During the half hour or so I was there, I was stunned to see that every runner that came through fell into the trap, preferring the thorns to the people friendly vegetation. Hopefully, some runners made the right decision and I make no apologies for rewarding them.

Disappointingly, although most people took the hit, some decided to go through the out of bounds, including one very experienced and high profile orienteer, even though it was clearly taped to remove any ambiguity. The tape was not a physical barrier, it was to ensure you noticed that all of that section of hedge was mapped as forbidden. I cannot emphasise just how serious this is. Not only have you made a conscious decision to cheat, but you could have jeopardised our use of the area if something sensitive had been in the hedge. Fortunately, that was not the case, but it is not for you to decide whether it is out of bounds enough to merit adhering to it.

The orienteering community has always provided me with a pleasant contrast to my other passion of football. Unfortunately my two very different worlds overlapped today, I cannot see the difference between what happens in football stadia and what some of you did today.



Thanks to the HAVOC volunteers who made the event happen:

Michael Muggeridge (Planner), Graham Batty (Controller), Colin Jackson (Organiser), Barbara Beckett, Paul Beckett, Dale Bennett, Janet Biggs, Tony Biggs, Rachel Cooper, Mick Hill, Steve Kemp, Doug McTurk, Garry Parmenter and Chris Shaw.

There was a panic on the Friday when Colin Jackson, organiser, went to pick up equipment from the club's store only to find there had been a break-in and the lock on the door had been changed. After obtaining a new key from the local council he then discovered some of our equipment was missing. Fortunately the club's committee members and other members rallied round so there were adequate resources on the day.



Colour coded ranking event with courses up to Blue, including Short Green. The event incorporates round #3 of the 2016/17 SWELL (South & West Essex Local League) winter series.




Location map

Nearest town: Aveley

Directions / Parking

The simplest approach is via Upminster.

From M25 J29 take the A127 west towards Romford. After 1.25 miles turn onto the first slip road, signed Upminster and Cranham, then turn left at the T junction. Continue through Upminster on the B1421 and then to Corbets Tey. At the point where the road has a sharp left hand bend, turn right, signed Aveley. Turn left at the T junction/mini-roundabout. Follow this road for 1.5 miles then turn left into the Country Park.

You can approach from the south: M25 J30, A13 west, A1306 and B1335 to Aveley then take the Romford Road to Belhus Woods Country Park. Note there are speed humps through Aveley.

There are brown tourist signs to the Country Park from Corbets Tey and Aveley.

Essex County Council car park charges apply.


Light refreshments and snacks available at the visitor centre. Toilet block adjacent to the visitor centre and car park.

Lakes with plenty of waterfowl (duck food available from the visitor centre). 

Terrain Description

Parkland with some mature woodland, grassland, young trees that are maturing and lakes (former gravel workings). Courses will be based on the western area previously visited only by long courses. All courses should visit areas not previously used. 

More information on the Visit Parks website

Registration & Start Times

Registration from 10:00 to 12noon

Starts           from 10:15 to 12:15pm

Courses close at  2pm

Course Information

White 1.2K (easy)

Yellow 2.0K (fairly)

Orange 3.1K (moderate)

Light Green 3.2K (harder)

Short Green 3.2K (hard - short length)

Green 5.5K (hard - medium length)

Blue 7.4K (hard - long length)

NB. Use the Pelican Crossing to cross and re-cross the very busy Romford Road to the start and on your return. The crossing should be marshalled. Please give way to any competitor using the crossing. 

Entry Details

Seniors         £7.00 (non-British Orienteering members £9.00)

Juniors         £3.00

Groups         as for seniors

SI dibber hire (electronic timing key) £0.50

Contacts / Officials

Enquiries to:  

Planner:          Mike Muggeridge (HAVOC)

Dogs allowed?

Allowed but to be kept under strict control especially near the waterfowl.

Safety and Risk

A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event.

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