North York Moors

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Orienteering & geocaching

Children at map reading workshopChildren at map reading workshop

If you like maps, GPS devices, and adventure, running, walking or cycling across varied terrain, then orienteering or geocaching are fun experiences for all the family. Or how about learning how to survive in the wild by picking up some bushcraft skills?

Orienteering and navigation

The moorland of the North York Moors is the perfect place to hone your compass skills; it's also a great place to have a go at orienteering, whether it's a dash around one of the permanent orienteering courses using just a map and compass or entering one of the many events. Either way, they're fantastic ways to explore more of the countryside.

If you've not tried orienteering before, the idea is to navigate in sequence between control points marked on a unique orienteering map and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. Several activity companies will show you the basics and many of them provide navigation and map reading training too. We also run compass skills days, see our Events Listings for dates. 

Eborienteers is an active orienteering group running events throughout the year in the North Yorkshire area. Their White Rose Orienteering Weekend is one of the most popular orienteering events around, with four days of orienteering races and other activities as well.

Cleveland Orienteering Klub runs events in the Cleveland area

You'll also find permanent orienteering courses at Guisborough Forest and Walkway, Dalby Forest, Spiers House and Keldy Forest. Maps are available from the two visitor centres at Guisborough and Dalby Forest.

If you'd rather have a crack at orienteering on a mountain bike, North Yorkshire Mountain Bike Orienteers organise an annual calendar of events, including the Annual Moors Marathon. This has four fixed routes (100/75/50/25km) on bridleways/minor roads with a commemorative mug if you complete the route in 10/8/6/4 hours respectively.

Get into geocaching

Combine outdoor adventure with the excitement of a high-tech treasure hunt, kids love it! Grab a handheld GPS device, an Ordnance Survey map and begin your journey into the countryside to track down hidden caches.

Each hidden box (and some are very hard to find) usually has a logbook to record your visit, and often some kind of small 'trade items' left by previous explorers. Take something, leave something, that's the rule. Back home, log your find and share your experiences on the official geocaching site.

To look for caches, sign-up to www.geocaching.com (which is free) a handheld GPS receiver. Once you've signed in, search for any location, the quickest way is to enter a postcode, you'll then find coordinates and clues for your nearest caches. Decide which ones you want to bag, download or enter the co-ordinates manually into your GPS receiver, check out the location on an up-to-date Ordnance Survey map, then set out to find them.

There are hundreds hidden around the North York Moors many taking you to places you didn't know exist. Have a start with the one hidden by pupils of Hackness Primary School in the woods at Hayburn Wyke. Head to www.geocaching.com for the co-ordinates.

Please be aware that some of the routes to the caches may be quite strenuous and you need to ensure you’re wearing the right clothing and footwear for the weather and the terrain.

We also run a series of geocaching events throughout the spring and summer where you can use one of our GPS units. These are run with the National Trust and the Cleveland Way National Trail at stunning locations, including Robin Hood's Bay, Ravenscar, Sutton Bank and Hayburn Wyke. Check out our Events listings for further details. Find out about National Trail geocoins as well.

TFTC (thanks for the cache)!

Bushcraft

If you'd like to learn to understand our wild places, its flora and fauna, and how to survive in the wild, then take part in a bushcraft course. You'll learn how to make natural shelters, forage for food and water, and light and manage a fire for warmth and cooking. You'll develop many new useful skills and gain a deeper understanding of the natural world and have the self-confidence to travel on your own and be self-reliant. 

A number of activity companies organise bushcraft sessions. You can also have a go at bushcraft with the Forest Holiday rangers if you stay in one of their cabins at Keldy and Cropton Forests.