Introduction to map reading

  • group of map reading beginners use a compass at path junction
  • lady looks closely at a map and compass
  • map reading novices measuring the map
  • lady in churchplace inclosure uses a compass for first time
  • couple learning to use maps and compasses in open heathland
  • close up of someone pointing at a new forest map

From £39 per person

Ideal for couples and groups

Beginners course

3 hours

All equipment provided

Courses run all year

  • Ideal starting point for novices - Absolute beginners will learn to use and map and a compass
  • Learn to use a map, compass and easy to find features to plan and walk your own routes
  • 3 hour course - Mornings, afternoons, midweek and weekend courses available
  • Couples and groups always welcome with courses arranged to suit. Introduction course is an ideal family or group activity.
  • All weather course - Course takes place on surfaced tracks, paths and well drained areas of the forest
  • Equipment provided - Proper maps and quality compasses are provided for the course
  • Comprehensive joining details with directions to course starting point

We had an absolutely fantastic time with you on the course! We've learned so much - you are a great teacher: patient, kind, clear and encouraging. We can't remember the last time that we did something as good as your course; it was so absorbing and fascinating.
You have a wide knowledge of the history, geography and geology of the area walked; that, and your enthusiasm, makes for a very well-rounded and informed experience.Ian and Liz - April 2015

Map reading courses gift vouchers

Vouchers can be bought for all map reading courses and outdoor skills courses.

Gift a voucher and let the recipient book a course on a date that suits them.

Vouchers can bought at anytime and do not have to be used until 31 March 2018

Further course details...

  • Latest information
  • What you will learn
  • Course start locations
Tab 1

Introduction courses can be arranged for couples or groups on request. The day one map reading course teaches all the same skills with more time to practice and get to grips with things.

Drop Nigel an email to arrange a course date.

Gift these courses with map reading course gift vouchers. Buy a voucher and let the recipient book a course date to suit them.


One to ones, couples and small groups - bespoke introduction courses
Weekend and some midweek afternoons available.
One to one - £70, One to two - £85 small group (4 plus) from £30 per person. Email Nigel to check for dates and availability.
Tab 2

The introduction to map reading course is ideal for beginners with absolutely no previous experience necessary. Everyone can learn to use a map AND a compass on this basic map reading course.

You will learn to:
Read a map using easy to find features such as tracks, paths and forest rides.
Learn how to orient yourself and the map to easy to find features such as tracks, paths, rides and boundary features so you can choose the correct track and path to go down.
Measure the map and use time to keep track of distance and where you are.
Start using easy to find features to break your route down into smaller chunks.
Use a compass to point you down the correct track, path or forest ride.

On this course you will learn to use a compass to point you down the correct path. Don't worry if that sounds difficult, anyone can, and everyone does learn an easy to remember 1-2-3 process to use the compass. You will also get a chance to practice a few times before the end of the course.

You will also learn how to measure distance on the map and use time to stay 'on track'. Find the right tracks and paths to walk down, dismiss the ones you do not want and start planning and walking your own routes.

Course duration and length
The introduction to map reading course is usually about 3 to 3.5 hours. This basic map reading course is an ideal starting point for the map reading novice and is walked at a steady relaxed pace. The course length is around 5-6km (less than 4 miles). If you want more time to practice skills then maybe consider booking the day one course.

All weather fun!
Most of the course takes place on surfaced tracks, paths and well drained rides making it a fun all weather activity. Family groups, groups of friends and couples are most welcome to book a course just for them, just ask Nigel to arrange this.

Equipment provided
Proper maps and real compasses are provided for all courses and you can take home a handy timing card and compass use crib so you don't have to remember everything. Just bring yourself and enjoy.

Still want to know more? Just securemail and ask.

Tab 3

Introduction to map reading courses start from Wilverley Plain car park, Ashurst railway station and Standing Hat car park in the New Forest. Wareham Forest courses start from Cold Harbour car park. Maps of the car park locations can be viewed below.

Wilverley Plain and standing Hat car parks are very close to the villages of Brockenhurst and Burley and not far from Lymington and Lyndhurst. If you are coming from further a field they are both very central and easily reached from Christchurch and Bournemouth to the south west, Salisbury and Wiltshire area to the north and from Hampshire, Surrey or London using the main road network. Do allow enough time to travel across the forest and download or check directions before you come!

New Forest Navigation map reading courses start from New Forest car parks that are all easily reached by car from New Forest villages and surrounding towns and main transport links and road network for those coming across Hampshire from London or South East or West England.

Courses can also be arranged to start from the centre of Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst or Ashurst railway station. Additionally a lift can be arranged if you arrive public transport or are using public transport to travel within the forest. Courses for groups, corporate or special events can start at or close to your venue. Ask securemail to find out more.

Full course joining details will be sent a couple of weeks before the course start date. This will include start and finish times, car park locations and directions and suggestions for what food and clothing to bring. If you want these details before you book then do get in touch and ask.

Need more information?



Gift Vouchers available for ALL courses...

Wilverley Plain (Wilverley Inclosure) car park - Location and directions

Choose a location
Wilverley Plain car park
Brockenhurst, New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 5TZ
50.806672, -1.638379

Standing Hat car park, Brockenhurst - Location and directions

Choose a location
Standing Hat car park
Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7QJ
50.831318, -1.554447

Ashurst New Forest Station car park - Location and directions

Choose a location
Ashurst New Forest Station car park
Lyndhurst Rd, Ashurst, Hampshire, SO40 7AA
50.890127, -1.526681

The map marker shows the actual position of the car park. The postcode directions are to the general area ONLY. You SHOULD check and verify the actual location and get directions BEFORE travelling to the New Forest!

New Forest Navigation map reading courses start from car parks and villages within the New Forest National Park. The New Forest is located in south Hampshire, South East England. It is easily accessible from the surrounding counties of Dorset, Wiltshire, Surrey, Sussex and London. No need to travel to Snowdnia or Peak District with the New Forest on your door step!
Course start locations are reached easily from all New Forest villages and towns, which all have a huge range of accommodation options; Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Lymington, Christchurch, Fordingbridge, Ringwood, Burley, Sway and further afield at Bournemouth, Southampton and Salisbury.

New Forest Navigation

Learn Map Reading and how to use a Compass courses in the New Forest.
New Forest National Park, Hampshire, UK
07873575997