Butterdean Wood
Saturday 24th April 2021

Butterdean Wood  Saturday 24th April 2021

Butterdean Woods

Our most recent local event was held at Butterdean Wood on Saturday 24th March 2021.

Due to CoVid restrictions it was only open to club members living within East Lothian. We hope this was the last event subject to the residence qualification and that all our future events will be once again open to all.

Many thanks to the whole team of helpers and particularly to Pete Brownsort, for planning such good courses, and to Sheila Strain, who devised the thorough CoVid protocols which convinced the Woodland Trust that we could go ahead with the event in their wood. See Pete’s comments below.


Planner’s comments

Well, that was a bit of a different experience for my second time as planner. For a long time it looked like I could only do “armchair planning” as, living in Edinburgh, I was not allowed to travel as far as Butterdean Woods. So Pete Younger was my “eyes” in the field and between us we shaped and tweaked the courses and control sites; and he was ready to do the course setting out on Saturday if he had to.

Luckily, with the easing of restrictions I was finally able to visit the woods eight days before the event, just in time to make a few map updates and work out exact control locations. And, although it was still touch-and-go over the last week, I was able to enjoy the putting-out early on Saturday.

So some of the choices of control features might have been different if I had seen them earlier, but overall the courses seemed to work, judging by your feedback at the finish. Thank you for coming along, it was a good turnout – all keen on getting back to real events after this long winter. The woods were in lovely condition, not much undergrowth, lots of wildlife, and splendid sunshine for the event.

Many thanks to Pete for help at all stages of the planning, and to Jamie, David and Michael for help collecting controls.

Pete Brownsort 25/04/2021

Pre-event information

Butterdean is a flat wood densely planted with conifers and patches of birch or ash. There is a good track and path network. The wood is home to a range of wildlife and some animal sculptures. It is managed by the Woodland Trust and East Lothian Council.

Butterdean is south of Gladsmuir village which is between Tranent and Haddington.


White / Yellow / Orange / Green

Type of event:

Local event in the East of Scotland Orienteering Association (ESOA) series.

Type of terrain:

A flat wood mainly made up of conifers with patches of birch and ash. There is an extensive network of tracks and footpaths. The wood is varied in density with some runnable areas and other patches being very challenging to penetrate.

Even at this time of year knee-high brambles are present so leg cover is strongly recommended for all.

Although the ground has dried well recently it is still wet in places and most paths have muddy sections so stout footwear with good grips is essential. There are some areas of standing water within the woods away from the path network.

Several small coal pits within the woods are clearly fenced off and must not be entered.

Do not enter the badger sett area in the west of the wood. This is shown as OOB (out of bounds) on all maps but is not marked on the ground.

Other Users:

The wood is heavily used by the general public including dog walkers and families. Please respect their right to be there at the same time as you are orienteering.


The area is well used by dog walkers so dogs are welcome.


The bigger tracks are good but most of the smaller paths have sections which are muddy and/or very uneven with roots so the courses are not suitable for buggies.



Nearest town: Gladsmuir
Grid Ref: NT458732
Postcode: EH33 1ED


Gladsmuir is on the A199 (the “old A1”) between Tranent and Haddington. Leave the A1 at the B6363 junction, east of Tranent (signposted Pencaitland and Longniddry). Butterdean Wood is signposted 400 metres south of the village.


Do not park at the wood itself – spaces there are very limited and we are asked to keep them available for other users.

Please park at the large layby a few hundred metres west of the village and follow the taped route along the footpath to Gladsmuir and across the A199 down to the wood. Allow 15 minutes walking to reach the wood in time for your Start slot. Take great care crossing the fast and busy A199.

By parking at the layby we avoid obstructing cycle lanes along the A199 through Gladsmuir.

Registration & Start Times


There is no entry on the day. Entry is only open to ELO members who live in East Lothian (and to members of other clubs who live within East Lothian and who have taken out temporary ELO membership).

You must enter in advance and will be required to read and agree to special arrangements in place for CoVid-19 distancing. Click here for the entry form, by Saturday 17th please.

Many entrants will not need to pay as ELO is offering free entry to our first two events of the 2021 for renewing members who did not get value from their 2020 membership. Anyone not in this category will be contacted separately regarding payment arrangements. There is a summary of entry fees lower down this page.


There are no public toilets in the area. The nearest public toilets are in Haddington and in Tranent.

Start and Finish:

Start and Finish are both close to the car park at the north end of the wood.

Unless you need to collect a hired SI dibber you should go straight to the Start where you will collect your map.

Download and dibber collection will be in the public car park close to the Finish.

Controls will be brought in from 4:00pm.

It is essential that you report to Download before leaving the wood even if you have not completed your course.

Start Times:

Start times will be from 1:30pm to 3:00pm.

Please allow time to park away from the wood but still arrive promptly for your slot.

Download the start list as a pdf.

Course Information


The map is printed at 1:5000 with a contour interval of 5 metres.

Due to restrictions on travel the map has not been updated extensively for this event. Some corrections have been made but you may find that some mapped clearings are being encroached on by new growth or that new unmapped clearings have been created by wind-blow.

Much of the wood has a network of minor drainage ditches – only the most significant of these are shown on the map.

Control descriptions will be printed on the map for all courses. There will be no loose control descriptions provided on the day – but control descriptions will be emailed to entrants to print if required.


There will be White, Yellow, Orange and Green courses.
Course lengths are as follows…

White1.8 kmVery easy navigation
Controls are all on paths
Yellow2.6 kmEasy navigation
Controls all on or visible from paths
Orange3.3 kmMedium difficulty navigation
Controls are generally quite close to paths
Green3.9 kmHard Navigation
Controls are hard to find and to reach
More details about the colour coding of courses is available on the Scottish Orienteering website.

SportIdent (SI) electronic timing will be used. If you have your own SI dibber please bring it with you. We will have dibbers for hire free of charge but there is a £30 replacement charge if you lose it.

Entry Fees:

Anyone not entitled to free entry to this event will be contacted after entry regarding payment based on this table of fees…

MembersNon members
Parent and Child
(one parent with one child)
Larger Family Groups
(one or more children accompanied by one or more adults)
Pair of Seniors£5n/a
Pair of Juniors
(no accompanying adults)

Safety and Risk

A comprehensive risk assessment (and a separate CoVid risk assessment) has been carried out by the organiser but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event.

See the detailed safety notes in the Terrain description above on this page.

There are ticks in the woods so remember to check yourself after the event. Full leg cover is strongly recommended.

Medical Conditions:

If you, or anyone in your group (including juniors), have a medical condition that first-aiders or health professionals should know about in the event of accident or illness during the course of the event please print off the Medical Form, complete it fully and bring it along to the event.   You should complete a separate copy for each individual who has a medical condition.  Please leave the completed Medical Form at Event Registration.  If it is not in a labelled sealed envelope, it will be put in one and will be opened only in an emergency.  It will be shredded immediately after the event if you do not claim it back.


Pete Brownsort planned the courses but could not travel out from Edinburgh to visit the wood and so Pete Younger has done the on-site checking of the courses.


When entering our events your name may appear in the results section of this website or in newspaper reports.
We may also take photographs at the event for publicity purposes – please let us know if you do not want us to use your photograph in this way.
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2 thoughts on “Butterdean Wood
Saturday 24th April 2021

  1. Derek Bearhop

    As a recently joined ELO member and East Lothian resident, I’m not sure how to sign up for the Butterdean event on 24th April? Can you direct me to the entry form please.

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