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

Hadleigh Country Park (SWELL & ESSOL)

Hadleigh, Essex

Sun 12th Feb 2017

Type of event: Regional
Type of terrain: Parkland

Information updated: 12th Feb





A pleasant return to planning after 20 years, and much has changed. Last time I remember using a stencil/protractor with a triangle, circle and numbers on it to mark out the courses on to blank maps for photocopying at a local printers. Manual map corrections were the norm too. Not today; lovely to learn how to do the whole lot on OCAD and get into mapping too, although it is easy for the map changes to consume more of your time than the planners main task of course planning! Especially so when the Ranger’s team are very proactive; much clearing has taken place in the last two weeks and even the seat in the start triangle was removed within the last seven days, leaving just some fresh sawdust!!

This area is very long, thin, and conical at the top end, and also considerably hilly for Essex, causing much head scratching to produce challenging longer courses whilst also ensuring that the shorter courses remain within BOF guidelines. I hope I succeeded in both regards.

Lastly, my apologies if some of the brambles on the Benfleet Downs jumped out at you as if they were alive….I couldn’t find an OCAD symbol for triffids!!




This is the fifth event of the 2016-17 SWELL (South & West Essex Local League) and nineth event of the 2016-17 ESSOL (Essex and Suffolk Schools Orienteering League). 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.

Standard colour coded courses (White to Blue including Short Green) will be on offer.

Printable final details


Location map

Nearest town: Hadleigh

Directions / Parking

The Country Park car park is accessed at the south-west end of Chapel Lane, Hadleigh, Benfleet, Essex, SS7 2PP . 

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. 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 in the "old" country park car park now the overflow car park.

Nearest main line station is at Leigh-on-Sea, a 3k walk, passing Hadleigh Castle.


Toilets are available near the Roundhouse and in the visitor centre complex.

Hub cafe (open at 10am) and BikeArt (bike hire - open at 9am).

A range of mountain bike courses 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 adjacent to/west 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 based on previous HAVOC maps with updates by Guy Lidbury & Janet Biggs winter 2016. Map scale is 1:10000 for Orange, Light Green, Short Green, Green and Blue and 1:5000 for White and Yellow; 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  Hide or other man made feature

                                Blue      X  Water trough

                                Green   X  Distinctive tree

                                X on pictorial control descriptions indicates a seat/bench;  O a hide.

Registration & Start Times

Registration 10.00 to 12.00 noon

Starts 10.30 to 12.30

Courses close at 14.00

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               1.3k         35m          8               1:5000          Written             

Yellow              2.4k         70m        13               1:5000          Written          

Orange            3.2k         95m        11               1:10000        Pictorial          

Light Green     4.0k       120m        11               1:10000        Pictorial            

Short Green    3.0k         90m        12               1:10000        Pictorial    

Green              4.6k       140m        16               1:10000        Pictorial    

Blue                 7.2k       180m        20               1:10000        Pictorial

Loose descriptions will be as shown above except for Orange which will have written loose descriptions; they will be available from Registration.     



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

 Although the courses are generally away from the main mountain bike trails, some paths and tracks are shared. Keep a good look out for cyclists. 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, please do not 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 and brambles present trip and sting hazards.  The steep slopes can be slippery and muddy when wet.  

Entry Details

Entry on the day at Registration near to car parking.

Senior members £6

Senior non-members £8

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:  Colin Jackson (HAVOC)

Planner:     Guy Lidbury (HAVOC)

Controller:  Paul Beckett (HAVOC)

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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