Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Grid Reference



Off the A3, approximately 4 miles south of Petersfield. Follow the brown tourist signs to the Queen Elizabeth Country Park. £2.50/hour.

Address: Gravel Hill, Horndean, Waterlooville. PO8 0QE
Tel: 023 9259 5040
Start/Finish: SW corner of the Gravel Hill car park. Permanent orienteering course leaflets are for sale in the visitors centre. 

There are three Permanent Orienteering Courses in QECP, designed for different skill and experience levels. They all start and finish at the same place – the SW corner of the Gravel Hill car park. Times are walking pace, distances are straight line measurements between controls.

COURSE 1, EASY, 40 – 60 minutes, 2.6 Km, map scale 1:7500

Equivalent to a ‘Yellow’ orienteering event course – beginners and juniors. This is along paths with the only decisions being which path to take next. A compass is not necessary. The paths are mostly suitable for off road buggies.

COURSE 2, MEDIUM , 70 – 90 minutes, 4.2 Km, scale 1:7500

Equivalent to a ‘Light Green’ orienteering event course – some experience of maps and compass reading helps. It is possible to find the controls from the paths but much more fun to use a simple compass and navigate from one control to the next. This gets you to see the woods from ‘inside’, and into areas you would not normally visit.

COURSE 3, HARD , 120 – 150 mins, 7.5 Km, map scale 1:10000

Equivalent to a ‘Blue’ orienteering course event – for experienced orienteers prepared to stay off paths and navigate on compass bearings through varying vegetation types. Familiarity with orienteering maps and accurate compass work is an advantage. This course is hard and challenging with climb.


The map was updated in February 2022 and is a typical modern waterproof orienteering map. The scale is large so there is lots of detail which you would not see on a regular Ordnance Survey map. Note the colours; Yellow is usually grassland or open areas, White is open runnable woodland, and the shades of green show levels of vegetation density. Darker green means harder to get through (maybe a rhododendron or gorse thicket).
Man-made features are black – buildings, tracks, roads. Water features are, of course, blue – ponds, streams; and natural features are brown – this will include contour lines, knolls, depressions, pits, etc., Study the Legend on the map, look around you and read the map as you travel along the courses, you will be surprised at all the detail the mapper has included.


From the start (a purple triangle), set your map the correct way up and navigate to the first control point. On the map this will be in the centre of the circle - #1. You will see a post with a red and white flag painted on it. There should be a control number on this post which matches the one you are looking for. There is also an alphabetical code which you should copy down onto the grid in column three. (For example 30 / BF). Then study the map and Navigate to the next control. This may be along a path or, on the more difficult courses, may involve taking a compass bearing and travelling off track along that bearing, or maybe using another line feature like a ditch or vegetation boundary. Continue around the course and eventually back to the finish.


Having completed one or more of the courses you can register for a free, personalised certificate. Claim your certificate now!