(4/4) Tockholes, Blackburn, Oct 17 2015

The long view: Tockholes & Darwen Tower beyond,

Date of event: Sat 17th Oct 15
Type of event: District (C)
Nearest town: Blackburn, Lancs


Tockholes Simple Results.
Tockholes Splits Results.
Tockholes Winsplits (splits analysis)

Results. Winsplits and Routegadget for Tockholes now published.

Our apologies for slow results, but PFO's 50th birthday celebrations followed hard on the heels of the event, preventing early publication.
We wish all competitors who stopped off at Tockholes on their way north to The CompassSport finals, the very best of luck in the competition. 

Controller's Comments:

I hope you all enjoyed the delights of Tockholes and Judith’s excellent courses, which I might add, required only a very few tweaks from me. For a first go at planning a level C event I thought she did a fantastic job. We all knew that the map is in need of some serious revision and some of you did experience a few vagaries of the contour and vegetation detail in places despite Judith’s best efforts. I hope it didn’t spoil your enjoyment of the day’s orienteering.

Apologies, however, to those early starters affected by the path signage (or lack of) to the start and to those finishers right at the death who could only be issued with a VRM (verbal result mode) when the download printer roll ran out. Finally, a big shout out to all the PFO club members who helped out on the day before, during and after, because, without you guys, the event just wouldn’t have happened.

Planner's Comments:

I hope you enjoyed your autumn day out at Tockholes. The recent dry spell of weather ensured conditions were as good as they could ever be, particularly with regard to the river crossings which are very interesting in wet weather. Although I did hear of a couple of competitors who managed to find areas of deeper bog than I had experienced during my many forays into the woods, apologies for that.

Tockholes is a delightful area of woodland at any time of year, but the varying levels of undergrowth and areas of bog mean that at this time of year as planner you have a choice of avoiding the areas of going straight through them. Most of the courses tried to avoid the worst of both obstacles.

This was my first attempt at planning a level C event, and the aim was to provide a range of courses to suit most competitors. My focus was to ensure the courses for younger competitors were technically correct for their stage of orienteering and longer courses were technical and long enough for experienced competitors. Courses were continually amended, and I hope improved, right up to the week before the event which resulted in some courses being slightly longer than had been originally advertised. This in part was due to George successfully marketing the event to competitors further afield and increasing the pressure to get my first event right….thanks George!

Some of my original control sites were changed when it became apparent that southern end of the map did not represent the area accurately, unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to make the necessary adjustments prior to the event. I suspect it really only affected the competitors on brown who were lucky enough to visit control number 134 on 3 separate occasions. Looking at your finishing times it doesn’t appear to have slowed any of you down too much.

I must thank Gillian Rowan-Wilde, my co-planner, who accompanied me on my many visits to the area and assisted in putting out the controls on Friday evening and early Saturday morning and joining me in camping at the event carpark on the Friday night! Thank you also to Tom Gray (controller) for his help and advice and George Crawford-Smith for his organisation.
Finally I would like to thank all competitors for joining us on the day especially those of you who drove considerable distances primarily to take part in the Compass Sport Cup in the Lake District on the Sunday. I hope that you enjoyed your short visit to East Lancashire and that you all had a very successful weekend and a safe onward journey.

Feedback regarding the planning and courses would be warmly appreciated.  Send to: judith.wood60@ntlworld.com

Judith Wood PFO - Planner.

Organiser's Comments:

What a day!  Fair weather, good courses and a good turnout (approx 180).  The turnout was boosted by PFO keeping the start window open till 14:00 specially for our southern cousins (thank you all for coming) on their way to the CompassSport Final at Kendal.  5 GO members from Farnborough arrived at parking at 13:50 (having been held up on the motorway) so we extended our extended start by a further 10 minutes.  Just a shame that forest orienteering at Tockholes was no practice at all for the bare limestone pavement of Helsington Barrows.

The day ran fairly smoothly, with handy parking and facilities close to the forest.  There were only 3 small hiccoughs - late delivery of the loo (just before 11:00 instead of well before 10:00), the generator failed to fire up after 3 years of untroubled service (we used inverter backup) and turning the BOK coach around, it having overshot the large vehicle gate.

The junior cake stall received over £90 to go towards their weekly club night and training sessions.  Thanks are due to the PFO Junior helpers and everyone who patronised the stall.
Car parking donations totalled £115.02 (!).  This money will be donated to the charity of farmer John Smith's choice.  If you want to know a little snippet of orienteering history as told to me by John Smith, then click here

I would like to congratulate Judith Wood PFO, aided by Gillian Rowan-Wilde PFO, for planning challenging courses and Tom Gray PFO for controlling, in the dark on Friday evening then again early on Saturday.  We received one competitor complaint - an M70 was adament that the slopes here are steeper now than 30 years ago.  No event could take place without the legion of PFO helpers - parking, road crossing, registration and Start & Finish duties.   Several stayed back to collect controls in double quick time, so we could all get away early to our PFO 50th birthday dinner.  I was late, and last to arrive!

George Crawford-Smith PFO - Organiser.


Competitor Comments:

"Just to say thank you very much to you and all the team for the great event on Saturday. I nearly gave up in the middle but managed to relocate and sort myself out.  A good challenge."  BOK member.


Pre-event information below here.


Pre-entries now open via Fabian4.  Closing date midnight Sunday 11th October.

Classic Level C event which is the 4th event in our Autumn Series offering courses of gradually increasing difficulty week by week.  Tockholes was used for the UK Relay Finals in 2012.

This event will make a good warm-up for CompassSport Cup and Trophy competitors heading north to the final the next day at Kendal on Sunday 18th.   Courses from Yellow (2k) to Brown (8k) so you can pick your warm-up course to suit.  The woods are just 10 miles off the M6/J29 via M65/J3.  Parking and Registration are immediately adjacent to the forest.

Parking:  There are two car parks.  Parking donations please, for a charity of the landowners choice.  Please observe marshal's instructions.

  • Small vehicles (cars, 4x4, smaller mini buses). Entrance through a narrow gate to parking next to Registration.
  • Large vehicles (larger mini-coaches, coaches and campervans):  Entrance through a wide farm gate (400m south of the small vehicle entrance), then up a hardcore farm access track to parking on firm ground.  Large vehicles may 3-point turn in the farmyard and return dowhhill to park.  Walk to Registration is 450m across two fields (taped).

Terrain:  Excellent mixed forest terrain.  The competition area is a reservoir catchment valley, which provides high quality classic orienteering.  The mature forest is runnable throughout with a multitude of contour, vegetation and water features.  Areas of dense undergrowth are marked on the map and courses have been planned to avoid the worst of it.
Tockholes was voted best area in Lancashire in the recent best 100 areas in the UK listing.

Map:  Updated 2015 for vegetation changes and minor corrections.

Other users:  The area is open to the public and you may encounter walkers, runners, cyclists, horse riders and dog walkers.  Please be considerate.

Start: Route to start from Assembly/Registration is 600m allow upto 20 minutes. The route will be taped.  There is a road crossing which will be manned (whistle check), please take care when crossing, both on your way to the Start and on your way back to download.  Pre-entries may go straight to the start - maps will be reserved for you, regardless of your start time.
Call-up at -4 minutes, control description issue at -3 (also on map), blank competition maps at -2, final verbal instructions at –1.  Punching start for all competitors.

Clothing: It is impractical to have a clothing deposit at the Start as the distance from Finish to Start and back to download is 1.5km.  We recommend that you run with your wind/waterproof top.  See Safety note below. 

Finish:  Approximately 250m from Assembly/Registration.
After running, follow the tapes back to Registration for download.

Fences:  Brown, Blue, and Orange will cross at least one fence.  Crossing points have been shown on these fences - please use these.

You must carry a whistle.  There will be a check at the road crossing.
River crossing:  Brown, Blue, Short Blue, Green, and Light Green will ford the small river that runs through the centre of the area, at least once. The rocks are slippery and after heavy rain the river can be swollen, so take care when crossing.  Bridge options available.
High crags:  There are three high crags (about 15m tall) running parallel to the small river.  These are marked as uncrossable on the map and will be taped at the top with Black/Yellow hazard tape where courses pass in close proximity - do not cross hazard tape.  The slopes between the crags are steep in places.   Please take care.

Most courses have been planned to avoid both these hazards.  Route choices are available on all courses via easy crossing points.


events location


Nearest town: Blackburn, Lancs
Grid Ref: SD665213
Postcode: BB3 0PA
Latitude: 53.68721
Longitude: -2.50909
Google Map (aerial) - Bing Map (OS)


Planner: Judith Wood PFO
Organiser: George Crawford-Smith PFO
Controller: Tom Gray PFO
Contact: For general enquiries -

Info for dog owners

No dogs on courses, and must be kept on leads at parking, unless there is no livestock around.  After your run you may walk your dog in the competition forest.


Near Parking and Registration:
- Public toilets behind Vaughn’s and Portaloo at Registration
- Vaughn’s Country Cafe (Open 10:30 to 16:00)
- Royal Arms public house.  Food available (12:00 till 22:30!)
- PFO Junior cake stall at Registration, plus raffle in aid of the NWJS.  Please support these worthy causes.

Downloadable Documents

Printed details for Tockholes 17th October 2015.,

Image Gallery

Click the image for a larger version.

The long view: Tockholes & Darwen Tower beyond,

The long view: Tockholes & Darwen Tower beyond

The last control, UK Relay Final. Tockholes 2012,

The last control, UK Relay Final. Tockholes 2012

UK Relay Finals Tockholes 2012.  Mass start.,

UK Relay Finals Tockholes 2012. Mass start.

Runnable beech woods.,

Runnable beech woods.

The main river.  Crossable at most points.,

The main river. Crossable at most points.

Clearings.  Some recently planted with saplings.,

Clearings. Some recently planted with saplings.

Tockholes - clearing.,

About the area/map


Tockholes was voted best area in Lancashire in the recent best 100 areas in the UK listing.  

95% of the competition area is woodland covering the catchment for Rodlesworth Reservoirs.  A wide stream bisects the area with many tributaries and deep valleys on the steeper slopes.  The area is mostly mature deciduous woodland including beech, almost all of which is fast runnable terrain with minor undergrowth.  There are also areas of coniferous plantation which are slower but passable.  Some open areas and semi-open areas have seasonal growth making them slower.  Old quarry workings give intricate contour detail and ruins.  Rock features include some 10m high crags!

The whole area gives some of the best traditional orienteering in Lancashire.  Fast, runnable and intricate.

The area is open to the public and you may encounter walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders.  Please be considerate.

Tockholes was used in October 2012 for the Lancashire HotPot weekend incorporating the UK Relay Finals and Middle Distance event.

Preparatory work began in 2017 for forestry operations that will take place in 2018.  The extent of felling is not yet known but we believe it will not exceed 10% of the area and will be retricted to the northern half.  PFO will progressively update the map as work proceeds.

Read more about the Tockholes area and map


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Posted by George Crawford-Smith