Introduction to map reading

Learn basic map reading and how to use a compass

  • 2021 - The year for UK adventure!
    Firstly I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult days. A full course schedule will commence from April with courses taking place right across the south and south west of England and Wales.
  • Book with confidence
    Book with confidence: Courses booked and postponed in 2020 can re-book onto a suitable replacement course right up to August 2021. Courses booked in 2021 that are cancelled due to the Covid pandemic can be rebooked for a suitable replacement course taking place anytime during 2021. Courses cancelled for other reasons will be subject to the normal booking terms and conditions.
  • Keeping safe
    Keeping us all safe:
    Do not attend the course if you have or may have been in contact with anyone who has displayed any of the symptoms of coronavirus. You should consult and follow the official government advice if you are not sure wether you are able to attend; If in doubt postpone and attend another day!
    Joining instructions will also include details of where to assemble at each car park/start location.
    Every participant will get their own pack of maps, compasses and laminated resources to use for the duration of the course. These will all be sterilised at the end of each course and copies of the resources will be available to download from the website.
    Each participant will have their own signing on form.
    The course will be taught whilst maintaining social distancing with a maximum group size of 6 participants and will make use of the wider tracks and paths; during the course there will still be plenty of opportunity to stop, ask questions, look and learn.
    Each participant will need to be fully equip for the expected weather and ground conditions and should also bring a small personal first aid kit and consider bringing an 'orange survival bag' (especially during wetter/colder weather).
    Participants and the group leader will always be guided by and follow current government advice on how to 'Protect yourself and others from Coronavirus' - website link: The government guidance gives instructions for staying safe outside your home and for meeting people from outside you household.
    All activities are risk assessed and an extra assessment has been made for carrying out emergency first aid by the group leader (Nigel) who always carries emergency equipment and a full first aid kit.
    A full safety and socially distancing briefing will be made before the course starts.
    Face coverings: These are not mandatory for any course; you may want to bring one anyway incase for any reason outdoor distancing is not possible or you need require non emergency first aid assistance. A folded buff or simple covering made form a folded scarf will be sufficient.
    Lifts: Nigel will not be able to give anyone a lift from the station or to/from accommodation. Some courses start close to the station (20 minutes walk) or a one to one/two midweek course could be arranged that starts at the station or closer to it.
  • 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

£42 per person

From £28 per person for group bookings

Ideal for couples and as a group activity

Around 3 hourse or so

All equipment provided - Quality maps and compasses!

Comprehensive joining details sent out to course participants

Fun, all weather activity for team days, groups of friends or couples looking to learn new skills

Fun activity for groups, teams or couples - take your next team day outside.
Course takes place on mostly surfaced tracks and paths - the perfect all weather and all year round activity.

Ideal starting point for novices - Absolute beginners will learn to use a map and a start using a compass*
Everyone can and does learn how to use a compass to point them down the correct path.
*Learning use of compass will depend on group size. If you want time to learn to use a compass then consider the full one or two day course.

Course lasts around 3 - 3.5 hours at a relaxed learning pace.
The course length is around 6km on mostly surfaced tracks and paths

One to one, one to two, couples and groups always welcome with courses arranged to suit. Midweek courses dates and navigation training tailored to suit you. AM/PM course that starts at a forest car park with toilets.

ALL map reading equipment is provided.
Quality maps and compasses are provided to each participant - Just bring yourselves…

Course joining details are sent a few weeks before the course start date and include comprehensive details to get to the start locations and recommended clothing and equipment list. If you want additional kit advice then just ask.

Just wanted to say thank you Nigel, for a great day yesterday. I'm beginning to think that next time I get a bit lost in a peat Moor I might just get out a bit quicker than before! (No guarantees though).
You're an excellent guide/teacher (enabler?), patient and kind.
Thank you've been recommended on our MPC page. If you ever want to break into the US market........
Best wishes Judi - Uk Peakers Group April 2017 (bespoke group one day map reading)

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 be now bought now and do not have to be used until end of December 2021!

Further course details...

  • Latest information
  • What you will learn
  • Course start locations
Tab 1
Explore the calendar below to see course dates, locations and information - you can tick or untick specific calendars to view just those, use the 'TODAY' button as you explore the dates to see fewer dates, and the 'ALL THIS MONTH' button to see everything in one mad column of information!
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...

Details and directions to New Forest Navigation map reading courses start locations. It is always advisable to download or familiarise your self with the directions rather than relying on a mobile data signal once you get to the forest.
Martin Down and north New Forest Day one and day two, Bronze National Navigation Award Scheme courses usually start from Martin Down A354 car park - Please note none of the car parks have public toilet facilities.
North New Forest courses include starts from Abbotts Well (Frogham car park) and Rockford Common car park
National Navigation Award Scheme - Silver level courses usually from Abbotts Well and Rockford Common car park
Central New Forest day one reading courses usually start from Wilverley Plain car park, Anderwood car park and Standing Hat car park - Standing Hat car park does not have any toilet facilities.
Central New Forest day two and bespoke midweek and weekend map reading courses usually start from Fritham car park and Abbotts Well and Frogham car park. Neither of these car parks have toilet facilities.
Central New Forest National Navigation Award Scheme - Bronze level courses usually start from Anderwood car park, Wilverley Plain car park and Fritham car park.

New Forest - Starting locations for map reading courses

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