Hadleigh Park looking South, J Biggs
Hadleigh Park looking South, Source: J Biggs

Hadleigh Country Park (SWELL)

Hadleigh, Essex

Sun 29th Apr 2018

Type of event: Regional
Type of terrain: Parkland

Information updated: 5th May




Both the Planner and Controller were surprised to see how much vegetation growth there had been in the two weeks before the event. The undergrowth in particular made it much more difficult to get to some of the control sites on the more technical courses. We tried to offer as many route choices as possible although the heavy rains had flooded the flat marshland to the south of the map which meant we could not offer any route choices across that area. The inclusion of the mountain biking area provides some strenourous running up the hills but there are some good views if you need to stop to catch your breath and have some time to look around.

Thanks to our helpers: Graham Batty (Controller), Barbara Beckett, Paul Beckett, Dale Bennett, Janet Biggs (Planner), Tony Biggs, Colin Jackson (Assistant Organiser), Guy Lidbury (Organiser), Charlie Maule-Lidbury, Doug McTurk, Rachel McTurk, Michael Muggeridge, Garry Parmenter, Chris Shaw and Andrew Welsh.






This is the final event of the 2017-18 SWELL (South & West Essex Local League) season. The event is open to orienteers of any ability as well as those competing in the league. By taking part in a SWELL event you automatically qualify for entry into that league.

The event is also the penultimate fixture in the 2017/18 ESSOL series.

Standard colour coded courses (White to Blue including Short Green) will be on offer. There are some great views of the Thames Estuary to be had (if you have time to stop and look) and spring flowers should be in bloom.




Location map

Nearest town: Hadleigh

Directions / Parking

The Country Park car park (open from 8.30am to 7pm) is accessed at the south-west end of Chapel Lane, Hadleigh, Benfleet, Essex, SS7 2PP . The car park has a lot of pot-holes, please drive carefully.  

From A13/A129/B1014 Roundabout: Head east along the A13 for 500m and turn right at the gap in the dual-carriageway (the gap is just after the traffic lights; you will need the right-hand lane). Return westwards for 100m then turn left into Chapel Lane immediately after the traffic lights. Follow brown and white tourist signs to the Country Park in 450m.

There is an ANPR camera at the barriers which picks up your car registration on entry (no ticket issue). You are then free to enjoy your stay. When you choose to leave you simply go to 1 of the 2 machines in the main car park, enter your car registration and the screen will tell when you arrived and how much to pay. Once paid you have 15 mins to leave and the exit barrier will let you out automatically. (There is an intercom in the event of difficulties). Parking is £1.50 an hour per vehicle. This is capped at £6 which will give you parking for the entire day. This is in line with most of the other Essex Country Parks. The money raised from the car park charges goes towards maintaining and improving visitor facilities.

Parking can be paid for either by cash or debit/credit card. No change is given by the machines if you pay by cash.

The car park has 400 spaces with an additional 12 disabled bays (also charged). Registration and Download will be located adjacent to the car park.

Nearest main line station is at Leigh-on-Sea, a 3k walk, passing Hadleigh Castle. Alternatively the 28 bus opperates a half-hourly service from near Pitsea railway station to Hadleigh (The Memorial)  which is at the northern end of Chapel Lane.


The main toilets (open 8.30am to 5pm) are in the SE corner of the visitor centre complex, approachable from the car park.

Hub cafe (open 9am to 4pm) and BikeArt (bike hire - open at 9am to 6pm).

A range of mountain bike trails to suit all abilities. Children's play area. Cycle and bike skills training areas.

Iron Age roundhouse reconstruction adjacent to the car park. Hadleigh Castle is a short walk from the car park.

Good views over the Thames Estuary including Canvey Island, Southend Pier and the QE2 Bridge at Dartford/Purfleet. 

Terrain Description

The area consists on a south facing scarp slope, steep in places, with flat drained marshland at its base. New paths and biking trails, which criss-cross each other, have been created in the area. The marshland, part of the Thames Marshes, is crossed by the Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness railway line.

The terrain includes mature and younger woodland with open and rough open areas on the steep hillside running down to the more open flat, rough grazing areas which are interspersed with ditches, some containing deep water. The grazing areas have been extended to other parts of the park resulting in a number of new stock fences, topped by barbed wire, having been built. There has been some clearance work, the newly cleared areas have been mapped.

Unusual for Essex, this is a good opportunity for some hill training. The Country Park is on the west side of the area that was used for the London 2012 Mountain Biking event. The mountain bike route has been redeveloped as part of the Olympic legacy for use by the general public.

The map is at ISOM 2017 standard and is based on previous HAVOC maps with updates by Janet Biggs spring  2018 to include the new mountain biking trails and some old WWII buildings. Map scale is 1:10000; 5m contours. Maps will be printed on waterproof paper or bagged and will be available at the Start. Loose descriptions will not be waterproof. The following IOF special symbols are used:

                                Black    X  Seat/bench

                                Black    O  Other man made feature

                                Green   O  Distinctive tree

                                X on pictorial control descriptions indicates a seat/bench.

Registration & Start Times

Registration 10.00 to 12.00 noon

Starts 10.30 to 12.30

Courses close at 14.30

Individual registration form

Group/School registration form

Course Information

Courses will be suitable for beginners, improvers  and experienced orienteers. Help and coaching will be available for  beginners/improvers (please ask at Registration). 

White 1.7k/55m 13 Written
Yellow 2.2k/75m 13 Written
Orange 2.8k/75m 11 Written
Light Green 3.4k/100m 12 Pictorial
Short Green 3.1k/90m 11 Pictorial
Green 4.6k/135m 13 Pictorial
Blue 6.1k/200m 19 Pictorial


Loose descriptions will be available from Registration. Orange course will have pictorial loose descriptions.     



First Aid will be available at Download. The nearest A&E is at Southend Hospital, location map available at Download.

All the courses finish in the main mountain bike trail area. Some paths and tracks are shared. Keep a good look out for cyclists some of who do not stick to the marked trails. The area is also used by dog walkers and, horse-riders may be encountered. Please show respect to all other forest users. Many fences in the area have barbed wire in or on top of them. Please use an appropriate crossing point rather than climbing over a fence. The marshland is crossed by wide ditches which often contain deep water. Ditches might be jumped by the most agile competitors but will be difficult obstacles for the less agile. It is not recommended to try to cross these ditches which are marked as "uncrossable streams" on the map, indicated using black edging lines (bank lines).

 Areas of hawthorn, nettles, wild rose and brambles present trip, scratch and sting hazards.  The steep slopes can be slippery and muddy when wet.  

Entry Details

To save time you may wish to complete an entry form in advance and bring the correct entry fee to the event. Please note this entry form needs to be used or one with similar wording so we conform to new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules.

Entry on the day at Registration near to car parking.

Senior members £7

Senior non-members £9

Juniors (under 21's) £3

"Dibber" (SI card - electronic timing key) hire 50p (£30 charge for lost dibbers)

Note member means an individual holding a current subscription to British Orienteering. Non-members are allowed to compete in up to three British Orienteering registered events before being recommended to join. See the British Orienteering website for information on how to join.

Contacts / Officials

Organiser:  Guy Lidbury 

Planner:     Janet Biggs

Controller:  Graham Batty  

Dogs allowed?

Dogs welcome if kept under strict control and you clean up after them.

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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