What is Orienteering?
Orienteering is an activity where participants use a map and compass to locate control points or markers on an orienteering course. Orienteering courses can be in urban and natural settings, but more often in parks and forests. Courses can be temporary and used for just a day or weekend competitive event. Courses can be permanent, like the Rockwood and Robious Landing courses, and used year-round.
For more information about orienteering, visit the Orienteering USA website.
What will you need?
To participate, you will need a compass, a map of the course, and a cue sheet. You'll need to supply your own compass. The maps and cue sheets can be downloaded below.
Maps, Cue Sheets and Control Points
The maps used for orienteering courses are topographic maps which show elevation. They contain a scale (such as 1:5,000), magnetic north lines, and legend which visually explains the symbols on the map. They also contain red circles with numbers that show the location of the control points. The red circle containing S/F denotes the start and finish of the course.
The cue sheet provides three columns of information about the control points. The first column indicates the control number which corresponds to the number on the orienteering map. The second column shows the alphanumerical code. This is the number/alphabet sequence you should find at the control point. The final column provides a description of the topography where the control point is located.
For example, on the Rockwood Park Beginner Orienteering Course, if you navigate to control point 2, the control point should be located on a knoll, and the alphanumerical code attached to the post should be B13.
Control points are green metal posts approximately 4-feet high mounted in the ground. The tops are orange and contain a unique alphanumerical code attached to the posts.
The Orienteering Courses
Rockwood Park Beginner Orienteering Course
The beginner orienteering course at Rockwood Park contains eight control points situated in the forest. The course includes rolling terrain, streams, and an extensive trail system. Start the course in front of the Rockwood Nature Center which is denoted on the map by S/F (for start and finish). Parking is available by the nature center and nearby parking lots. You can locate the control points in any order. The course can be completed any time the park is open. To try it, print the orienteering map and cue sheet. A compass, while useful for navigation, is not needed for this beginner course.
Robious Landing Park Beginner Orienteering Course
The beginner orienteering course at Robious Landing Park contains 10 control points and is situated along the floodplain with very little elevation change. The course is mostly in the forest and includes steams and extensive trail system. Start the course at the playground which is denoted on the map by S/F (for start and finish). Parking is available by the playground and nearby parking lots. The course can be completed any time the park is open. To try it, print the orienteering map and cue sheet.
If you have any questions about the course or observe any damage or missing control points, please send an email to Mark Battista.
Chesterfield Parks and Recreation Department thank Tim Gilbert with the Central Virginia Orienteering Club for his guidance and assistance.