Devon Orienteering


Devon League Event 5: Woodbury Common

Image of the  map

Sun 5 Jan 2020

Info updated: 06th Jan
Type of event: Regional
Type of terrain: Moorland, Woodland


Results: Woodbury Common North 5.1.2020   



See comments and photographs from today's events below. (Photos from Ben Chesters). 


Planner's Comments: It was fantastic to see so many people attending the event today. I hope you all enjoyed your trip to Woodbury Common. Hopefully, some of you will have noticed the fantastic views from the higher parts of the area; either during your course or, depending upon your route to the event, whilst travelling to or from the Common. As a native to East Devon, I consider myself very fortunate to have such a wonderful and scenic area so close to home.

Woodbury Common is a challenging area on which to plan, with its ‘renowned’ vegetation and the vast number of paths. However, the area also offers variety through the combination of forest and open land. The northern part of the common, which you used today, has not hosted orienteering for a number of years. This fact helped with the planning process as, in effect, it gave me a ‘clean slate’ to start with. Also helpful with the planning process was my local knowledge; having trained on the common regularly for many years, I know the most suitable areas to use and have seen those rotate over time.

A large portion of the open area on which you competed was ravaged by a wild fire around 3 years ago, meaning that the vegetation is still recovering. This, combined with the management of the common, by way of cattle and horse grazing, has kept the vegetation lower in many of the areas you used. Inevitably though, all of you will have encountered some challenging vegetation during your run, such is the nature of Woodbury Common. I trust my efforts to avoid the more heavily vegetated areas were appreciated, if only in hindsight.

Like many areas in the UK, Woodbury does not allow for the planning of a Technical Difficulty (TD) level 5 course, with the area being around the TD 3 or 4 level at the most challenging. With that in mind, I aimed to test skills other than the ability to find ‘technical’ controls. So, where possible, on the Short Green upwards I looked to test skills such as route choice, compass bearings and attack points to keep you on your toes. From what I witnessed during the event, and overheard near download, some people felt that they were comfortable with those skills, whilst others had maybe discovered the need to improve that particular skill set! I hope you enjoyed the challenge.

Finally, some thankyous:

Damian Wilson for controlling and helping with control collection.
Peter Grierson for organising and ensuring that we had all the helpers we needed.
The aforementioned helpers.
Meg Somers for helping me to hang the controls and, as a consequence, rendering herself non-competitive today.
My parents for ‘car sitting’ whilst Meg and I were hanging controls, and also for collecting controls today.
James Jackson for helping to collect controls.
Yourselves, the competitors, for making the trip to Woodbury Common, and also for your positive feedback about the courses.

Now, on to my next planning assignment; JK2021! 

Ben Chesters

Controller's Comments:  I hope you all enjoyed today's event, and that somewhere along your course you looked up from the map long enough to admire the views to the distant hills and the sea beyond. A big thank you to Ben and Peter for planning and organising the logistics, to Martin for leading the SI team and to Meg for helping with control hanging. Ben's courses were very good, and, although we had several discussions, I think in the end we only moved one control from the set I first saw - and that only to the opposite side of a thicket. The main challenge I saw was in providing the technical difficulty on the shorter courses. As always, the factor that most influences the location of start and finish is the car-park, which placed the shorter courses on the less technical southern part. Nevertheless, my initial apprehensions that some of them would be visible from large distances away proved unfounded, the vegetation being high enough to ensure you needed to stay in contact with the map all the way around, as orienteering should be.

The amount of volunteer time it takes to put on such an event is substantial, and probably coming close to the overall time everyone took to complete their runs added together. The planner, controller and organiser may feel the bulk of this, but there are many others to acknowledge; planning assistants, not only out hanging controls the day before but making their runs on-the-day non-competitive; control collectors (who are out there long after everyone else has gone home and are very much appreciated by any planner); start marshals and road crossing marshals, registration team, and tea-and-cake providers. And the other jobs I've forgotten. Also, we should remember that the club's committee provides an essential role in putting on events. Without fixture coordination, land access negotiations, equipment maintenance, as well as more traditional committee roles, there would be no events at all. Whatever you can do to  help your club is very much appreciated by all of us who compete. 

Damian Wilson

Pre Event Information

Please see the flyer for all details: Woodbury Common V2

We will be visiting the northern part of Woodbury Common for this event, an area that has not been used for sometime.  It was recent been remapped by John Pearce.

Woodbury Common is a site of special scientific interest which has a scheduled ancient monument and is home to dozens of important species. It also has an amazing history, and it's worth knowing how the Common came about before setting out on your run. The Common is within Clinton Devon Estates, but was dedicated to the public in 1930 "for the purposes of fresh air and exercise."

Dogs must be under control at all times.


Nearest town: Woodbury

Directions / Parking

From Exeter, Woodbury Common is reached via the A3052 Sidmouth road. Then, just past the Halfway Inn, turn right onto the B3180, which becomes the B3179.

Parking is at Four Firs carpark. This will be signposted at the crossroads of the B3180 and the B3179. Overflow car parking is a short distance along the Yettington road.

Registration & Start Times

Registration 10.00 – 12.30

Starts 10.30 – 12.30

Courses close at 14.30, at which point we will start to collect the controls in.

Participants should be aware that there will be members of the public in the area. In bad weather a cagoule will be required in addition to a whistle.

Course Information

At Woodbury we have a variety of open areas offering good route choice. The map uses the northern part of the common only.

Explanation of colour courses

  • White are very easy with all controls on paths. They are mainly used by 6-10 year olds and family groups.
  • Yellow use simple linear features like paths, walls and streams. They are mainly used by under 12’s and family groups.
  • Orange progress to basic use of the compass and route choice. They are ideal for novice adults or experienced youngsters.
  • Light Green are ideal for improvers as the navigational difficulty begins to increase and uses simple contours and point features.
  • Green are used mostly by experienced under 18’s and adults wanting a short but challenging course with a very hard navigational difficulty.
  • Blue are a longer, more physically demanding course in comparison to the green. The distances are more varied between controls and the course attracts experienced orienteers.
  • Brown & Black are very physically demanding and have a very hard navigational difficulty. They are for experienced orienteers only.
  • Score means visiting as many controls as possible in any order in a specific time, like 45mins.

Entry Details

Seniors £10 (£3 for Yellow, Orange or Light Green courses)

Juniors £3, Dibber hire £1 Facilities:

First Aid is available at registration. A toilet are located in the carpark.

Contacts / Officials

Planner: Ben Chesters

Organiser: Peter Grierson

Controller: Damian Wilson

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. If you wish to report any safeguarding concerns to our national governing organisation, British Orienteering, please email .

Photography: Devon OC has an agreed policy on the taking of photographs at events, based on national guidance. This provides a sensible balance between the benefits and risks associated with the taking and use of images. If you are unsure about acceptable practice, please speak to the event organiser.
Read our photography policy.

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