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Middle Distance Race at Bowden Housteads

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Sun 6th Sep 2015 Start Times 10:30 - 12:30

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19:30 Sun: Web results up
20:50 Splitsbrowser ("splits analysis") and Winsplits ("other") now available
21:00  Routegadget up
21:25 Splitsbrowser & Winsplits links switched so that they both work!
21:40 British Orienteering results uploaded. 

10:00 Tuesday.  British Orienteering results updated (blue course ranking points marginally lower) and comments added

Any queries to petergorvett

Controller’s comments

I enjoyed controlling this event. It is a good map, thanks for those that appreciated it. It’s a little harder if you didn’t read the final details “Green dots in the main wooded areas are almost all holly bushes.”

In hindsight, the courses were a little too long for a middle distance event. At all previous events a significant proportion of the longest course distance would have been virtually dead running in the fields to the west of the area on the 1:7500 map used previously.  Tim didn’t use those fields at all, so you spent >90% of your time in the woods.  The vegetation was probably at its seasonal worst too, this had a bigger impact on the shorter technical courses: the British Orienteering age-speed ratios don’t work so well in the sort of vegetation in parts of this area:  strong young men and women can still run through areas of young beech trees or low brambles that can dramatically slow a short green competitor.  (The guidelines suggest short green should be 50% of the length of the black course at a middle-distance race to provide similar winning times.)

I heard comments about having one or two controls hung more in the holly than normal.  This was partly caused by the decison to secure all controls: it is easiest to use one long wire rather than joining two.  They were all clearly visible from the correct side, but sometimes not visible when looking at the thicket from different angles.  I’m not sure this is wrong when the objective is to map-read to the feature rather than the flag, but it does mean navigation needs to be more precise.

Peter Gorvett

Planner’s comments

Ever since my first run in Bowden for Spook Relays way back in the 80’s I’ve enjoyed Bowden.  We re-mapped it (thanks Marcus Pinker) around 2010 and ran a very popular middle distance race a year or so later with a very competitive M21 course that showed just how good it can be, both technically and physically (it was earlier in the year).  Kris Jones also ran 6km in 33 minutes not so long ago but not in September.  And so I was looking forward to planning on the area, although a bit unsure how bad the vegetation would be this time of the year. 

Making a 1.5000 map from the best of the area was, I think you’ll agree, a good decision.  Updating parts of the map that had obviously changed since 2010 added some new control sites (inside hedge corner and small clearing amongst holly bushes) and allowed me make the most of the area at this time of year (i.e. keep you out of the worst of the undergrowth)..  As I only heard positive comments from people at the end I can only assume you enjoyed the courses – even if out a little longer than expected. 

Tim Tett


The first main event after the summer in the ancient woodlands of Bowden Housteads.  Being a middle distance race the courses are a bit shorter than usual meaning controls are often closer together, there is rarely a time you can safely switch off... Tim Tett is planning so expect some quality courses.

Travel & Parking

The area is located about 5km east of Sheffield town centre.  Parking is in the grounds of Athelstan Primary School, Richmond Park Way, Sheffield. Postcode: S13 8HH, GR: SK400861, Lat/long: 53.370977, -1.3999874.

There will be a £1 parking charge.

By car: From the M1 junction 33, follow the A630 southwest towards Sheffield before exiting on to the B6200 to head southeast in the direction of Handsworth. After 250m, turn southwest at the 2nd set of traffic lights into Richmond Park Road from where the event will be signed. Follow this for about 600m and turn west into Richmond Park Close and then south into Richmond Park Drive.
By public transport: Darnall rail station is roughly 2km from registration depending on the approach route. The area is also served by buses.

Times & Fees

Registration: 10:00 - 12:00
Starts: 10:30 - 12:30
Courses close: 14.30 prompt.

Seniors £8 (BOF members £6)               Juniors/Students £3
Families (2 seniors and up to 4 children) £19 (BOF members £15)
SI card hire: £1 Lost SI card fee: £30


Middle distance Colour Coded courses: White, Yellow, Orange, Light Green, Short Green, Green, Blue, Brown, and Black varying in distance from 1.2km for the White course to 6.0km for the Black.  Full details to follow

Map  & Terrain

These ancient woodlands are split by the A57 and A630 into 3 parts joined by footbridges.
The woods have a variety of trees dominated by Oak and Beech and are crossed by several streams, notably Car Brook which runs N-S.
It also has a number of open areas, mostly rough.
There is a good track and path network including part of the Trans-Pennine Trail.

Map from the previous event in 2013 is here

1:5000 with 2.5m contours
Area mapped by Marcus Pinker in 2010 based on a previous survey by Ray Waight; minor updates by Charles Hird in October 2013.


Competitors take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety.
The area is used by dog-walkers and mountain bikers.


Organiser – John Franklin (SYO)  Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Mobile: 07432 681353
Planner – Tim Tett (SYO)
Controller – Peter Gorvett (SYO)

Venue Details

Runnable deciduous woodland and a variety of open and semi-open areas.  Several stream valleys provide contour detail.  It is split into three parts by the Sheffield Parkway and A57, but footbridges mean this doesn't have a negative impact on course planning. Map resurveyed and updated to ISOM 2017-2 by Ian Cooper in 2019.

Safety & 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 a competitor has a pre-existing medical condition that they think should be declared, please complete a medical form at enquiries. The sealed envelope will only be opened in an emergency.


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