Springwood, Whalley, Jan 25 2014

Date of event: Sat 25th Jan 14
Type of event: Local (D)
Nearest town: Whalley, Lancashire


Results (including splits) now available

Organiser's event report:

Everyone enjoyed dry conditions overhead if not underfoot.  The rain held off until the very last competitor had finished but the officials got a little damp collecting in!

Thanks are due to Mark J for planning good courses, Jim M for controlling (did anyone notice the hollybush/knoll error?), our registration team (Gillian, Carole, Hannah, Mary) for their warm welcome, Mike F for cleaning the ranger's room after the event and to Mike W for the task of shepherding us all across the busy main road to the start.  Thanks too to Lancashire County for permission to use the woods.

One negative aspect that needs a mention, since some officials and some competitors may  have been on the receiving end of an irate local councilor, who was very concerned about us treading on the woodland flowers.  In response we'd like to say that, firstly, before Christmas we had written permission for the event from the owners LCC and, secondly, we deliberately chose January for the event, before the flowers emerge, to avoid this very problem.  Since it has been a warm winter some early growth was evident.  In subsequent discussions with the Springwood Ranger it was noted that the woods are not an SSSI site (as claimed), but is a Biological Heritage Site (BHS) designated for the bluebells and other wild flowers in the wood.  BHS designations are an acknowlegement of their special interest, not a restrictive covenant.  Unfortuately we did not discover the name of the complainant but, if asked, PFO will be happy to meet with the local council to present our case and ensure that all interests are served.

As competitors I hope you all enjoyed your day and the strong competition amongst the leading runners.

Our next Springwood event is a midweek training Score on Wednesday 11th June!  Next events in our winter series are Staghills 8/2, Hurstwood South 1/3 and Gawthorpe Hall 15/3.


Original event information below here:


This event is aimed mainly at novice and junior competitors, but seasoned competitors will find that the straight line route choices can be challenging.

Springwood is always a popular venue.  It is a very open runnable wood comprising a gently sloping lower section, which steepens towards the top.  There is a good path network, many gullies, streams and ditches, quarry works and other rocky features.  Recent cutting back of rhododendrons has improved visibility but has left behind areas of variable runnability.  The map has been updated to reflect these changes.

A rough open contoured area has added to the competition map.

events location


Nearest town: Whalley, Lancashire
Grid Ref: SD741361
Postcode: BB7 9TD
Latitude: 53.82007
Longitude: -2.39503
Google Map (aerial) - Bing Map (OS)


Planner: Mark Jesson PFO
Organiser: George Crawford-Smith PFO
Controller: Jim Mitchell PFO
Contact: For general enquiries -

Info for dog owners

Dogs are permitted in the woods.  We recommend that you keep your dog under control in the car park during the event, then walk them at your leisure after your run.


Public toilets on site.

About the area/map

Spring Wood, Whalley

Spring Wood is a traditional orienteering wood comprising runnable woodland set on a steepening hillside with small quarries and outcrops around the top of the hill.

There is contour detail from historic excavation, plus a mix of thicket, rock and water features. The area is a favourite with dog walkers as there are many paths, which makes it suitable for easier courses.  For more experienced orienteers there are many point features and alternative route choices.

For many years the area has been characterised by rhododendron bushes.  Due to their implication in spreading Sudden Oak Death, amongst other tree diseases, the rhododendrons in Spring Wood have been felled (2011/2012/2013) and in some cases burnt.  For the orienteer this has meant the disappearance of almost all of the areas of fight and, in their place, the appearance of brashings.  Some brashings are impassable (double hatch vertical green screen on the map) and some slowly passable (single hatch screen).  A few clumps, presumably not diseased, have been left standing and shown dark green, as are the more substantial hollybushes.  Interestingly, the rhododendron roots have not been killed and so new shoots are already appearing.  It remains to be seen whether fresh growth will be permitted or cut back once again.  

The most likely outcome is that the map will need updating again soon.

The map was extended for the event in January 2014 and now includes an area of rough land crossed by many tracks and bike trails.   This adds distance and interest to the original mapped woodland.  An underpass enables courses to cross the main road in safety.

Read more about the Spring Wood, Whalley area and map


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Posted by Steve Wilson