Permanent Courses


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Permanent Courses

Throughout Wales there are a number of areas which have Permanent Courses where you can try Orienteering for the first time, or improve your skills.

The object is to find your way around the route marked by the circles on your map and control posts on the ground. The control posts have painted red bands near the top. On the sloping top of each control post is a code letter or number corresponding to that on the map and on the control description list. Usually there is also a 'secret' letter or number which you have to write in the appropriate space on your control card to prove that you found that control. (At normal orienteering events there will be a flag ['kite'] instead of a post, and either an electronic unit into which you insert a special card, or a punch which makes a pattern of holes in the card.) 

What makes orienteering different from cross-country running is that you have to choose your own route between controls, and use your map reading skills to find your way. The lines joining the controls are simply to link them together in the order to be visited and rarely indicate a compulsory route. You should try not to get lost, and at all times you should be able to put your finger on the map and say "I'm just there". Do not try to go round faster than you can read the map - all that will happen is that you will miss the control you are looking for, and have to retrace your steps. 

It is worth having a look at the legend on the map to see what the various symbols represent. Orienteering maps differ from Ordnance Survey maps in that the white represents areas of trees that can easily be run through. Denser areas of trees are shown in shades of green. Open land is shown in shades of yellow.


The following list of permanent courses is neither exhaustive nor a guarantee that the Permanent Course is available. Many courses are situated in working forests where the control posts have to be temporarily removed whilst felling takes place, and other courses may have be vandalised or fallen into disrepair.  Maps are not always available on site or at weekends, so it is advisable to contact the issuing office in advance and get a map sent to you.

To help us keep track of the state of these courses, please email the WOA Webmaster with your comments about any that you visit.

North Wales

Beddgelert Forest (maps from FE campsite)

Coed y Brenin Forest nr Dolgellau (maps at FE info centre)

Parc Glynllifon nr Caernarfon (maps at info centre)

Llyn Elsi, Betws y Coed (maps from Cotswold shop)

Mid Wales

Bwlch Nant-yr-arian visitor centre in Ceredigion GR SN 718813.  It is due for update, following felling and the 
recent installation of a mountain bike trail, but the control posts are still in the places shown on the map. Maps should be available from the visitor centre, but safest to check with Simon Baldock , the Forestry Commission recreation ranger, that they have a stock before you travel

Hafren Forest. Details awaited. Contact Mid Wales Orienteers

South Wales

Brecon High School & Leisure Centre (maps from SWOC website)

Bryn Bach Parc (maps from Visitor Centre 01495 711816 08.30 - 16.30 or SWOC website

Caldicot Castle Country Park (maps from Warden, Dennis Manning or SWOC website)

Coed Taf Fawr (maps from Garwnant Visitor Centre, 10.00 - 17.00)

Cosmeston Lakes Country Park (maps from Visitor Centre 029 20708686 or SWOC website)

Cyfarthfa Park (maps from Castle Museum  01685 723112, Tues - Sat 10.00-16.30 or SWOC website)

Dare Valley Country Park (maps from Visitor Centre  01685 874672 or SWOC website)

Glyncornel Local Nature Reserve (maps from Glyncornel Environment Centre)

Afan Argoed Forest Park (maps from Visitor Centre 01639 850564) Schools/groups/dogs welcome; Café in VC

Gnoll Estate, Neath (maps from Visitor Centre 01639 635808) Schools/groups/dogs welcome; Café in VC

Singleton Park Swansea (maps from b.k.stein 01792 296122) Dogs allowed with restrictions

Pembrey Country Park (maps from Visitor Centre 01554 833913) Good MTB area. Schools/groups/dogs welcome; Café at ski centre. Sustrans route 4

Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff (maps from the Caravan Park Office or from the SWOC website)

Pontypool Park (maps £1 from Pontypool Museum 01495 752036 , Mon - Fri 9.30 - 4.30, Sat - Sun 2 - 5pm or SWOC website)

The following areas either have no map stocks or few remaining posts.  Maps may be available from SWOC via the WOA Webmaster if you want to make up your own courses

Parc-Cwm-Darren (no longer in use; no maps left)