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Manchester & District
Orienteering Club

Spring Series 1 - Woodbank/Vernon Parks

and surrounding area

Park event with urban extension.

Organiser and Planner comments: And lo, the “Chimera” was born ...

Sat 09th Jan 2016

Type of event: Local
Type of terrain: Parkland, Urban
Info updated: 19th Jan


Event Report

And lo, the “Chimera” was born.

The 2016 Spring series got off to a great start with an event at Woodbank and Vernon parks in Stockport on Saturday 9th January 2016. This was also the first run out for the “Chimera”, our new Park-Urban long course format, which will be appearing at all of the Spring series events.

We had a fantastic turnout, in spite of the wet and dreary conditions, with over 89 people participating, young and old, across the five colour coded courses. Conditions underfoot in the parks were extremely wet and slippery but some fast times were posted nonetheless.

The “Chimera” proved particularly popular, so much so that we had more interested participants than maps. Apologies, to those who had to forgo the 7km, 130m of climb ‘mud fest’. We’ll be sure to have more maps for the “Chimera” available at our future events.

This was also the first time for the Planner, David Wathey. We received positive feedback from many participants who enjoyed the mixture of terrain, route choice challenges and the variation between longer legs and short intricate sections. Differentiating between the controls on the bridge, and in the tunnel under the bridge, seem to have confused a few competitors, and the visibility of kites on the urban section could have been better, so some learning to take away for future events.

And we had some other notable firsts, with the introduction of the club Tarp, to keep participants dry while they filled out their forms, and the successful collapsing of the organiser's nemesis, the new pop up tent. 

Pete Lomas & David Wathey

Pre Event Info

Planners Note

This event combines three very different terrain types, including the formal Victorian surroundings of Vernon Park, the deciduous woodlands and open grassed areas of Woodbank Park, and the residential streets of Stockport that adjoin the South Western boundary of Woodbank park.

Vernon Park

A classic Victorian formal town park, with pavilions, band stands, ponds, grottos and a variety of intriguing features, packed into a compact area at the Northern end of the Goyt River. This is a great, safe area for children to experience orienteering, but also offers a pleasant and rewarding experience for families and novices. The park is set out on a steep hillside, rising up from the Goyt River, and is crossed by a complex network of metaled paths and tracks. The area is very runnable, and fast, but competitors need to be mindful of the complexity of the path networks and the close proximity of distinctive features.

Woodbank Park

Adjoining Vernon Park to the East, is the larger Woodbank Park. The park has a mixture of level open grassed areas and deciduous woodland, set out on two distinct levels that are bisected by the ‘Woodbank’, a very steep wooded slope. The upper and lower sections are crossed by a network of paths, some of which connect the two sections. Open grassed areas provide opportunity for more direct route choice in places. The lower section of the park sits within an arc of the Goyt River.

Urban, residential area

Adjoining Vernon and Woodbank Parks to the South West, the urban area is mainly residential, incorporating a mix of classic red brick terraces and more recent (mid 20th century) housing development. This mixture of housing eras has led to irregular road layouts, incorporating cul de sacs and various narrow interlinking footpaths, alleys and service roads. The roads are lightly trafficked in the main with low traffic speeds throughout.


White (0.9 km) and Yellow courses (1.2 km) have been planned to stay within the boundaries of Vernon Park.

Note that there are three stairways in the park that connect the higher and lower levels. Route options exist to avoid the stairways on the White course, but not on the Yellow course.

Orange (2.8 km) and Light Green (3.7 km) courses use both Vernon and Woodbank parks.

The “Chimera” [long Light Green park / urban] (5.2 km) course covers all three areas, Vernon and Woodbank parks and the adjoining urban area. Due to the urban section of the course, competitors should expect to need to travel at least 25% further than the planned distance.

The roads are lightly trafficked in the main with low traffic speeds throughout, however, competitors must be wary of vehicles and exercise caution when crossing roads.

In line with British Orienteering Federation rules, the long Light Green park/urban course is only available to competitors aged 16 or above, due the requirement to run in a trafficked urban area. 

At this time of year (Winter) all surfaces can be slippery, especially in Woodbank Park. All competitors are advised to use running shoes / footwear with good grip.

All courses will use the metaled paths within Vernon Park, and as such the use of spikes or studs is not recommended.

Competitors on the long Light Green park / urban course will encounter wet and slippery terrain especially in Woodbank Park. Bring your best ‘all terrain’ running shoes.


Nearest town: Stockport

Directions / Parking

Follow signs to Lower Bredbury on B6104 from the big roundabout at M60 junction 27. 1 km to Vernon Park car park. Please note that the Vernon Park car park has a height restriction barrier.

Registration & Start Times

Register between 10.00 and 11.00. Starts 10.30 to 11.15.

Course Information

White, Yellow, Orange, Light Green within the park, plus Long Light Green course using surrounding urban area for those wanting a longer run (over 16s 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

Fee: Seniors £3 / Juniors £1.50. Free SI-dibber hire (but £30 if not returned)

Dogs allowed?

On leads at all times

Contacts / Officials

Organiser: Pete Lomas
Planner: David Wathey

Series Co-ordinator: Clare Griffin

Enquiries to

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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