SALISBURY’S new permanent orienteering course on land next to Five Rivers Leisure Centre, was officially opened on Saturday.
Despite heavy rain in the area, more than 30 people witnessed the opening ceremony at Sarum Orienteering Club’s new venue at the Avon Valley nature reserve.
Special guests included Salisbury Olympian Margaret Thomas and Wiltshire County Councillor Jerry Kunkler.
Many of those present then had their first go at the ever-growing sport.
Orienteering provides an exciting challenge in the countryside for both children and adults to find points in the landscape using only a map and a compass.
Anyone wishing to use the orienteering course can obtain course maps and information leaflets from leisure centre. There will be several possible courses to choose from, including two designed for people in wheelchairs.
The courses are all located in the pleasant open countryside behind the leisure centre and are open for anyone to try when they wish.
A course consists of a start point, a series of control sites that are marked by numbered circles on the map in the order they are to be visited, and a finish. All the checkpoints or control sites are marked with wooden posts. Each post is marked by a number and a red and white marker.
The county council had helped fund the project.
Coun Kunkler said: “I am delighted that the council has been able to fund an orienteering course which will provide a permanent opportunity for people to enjoy fun and educational outdoor activities.
“Map reading skills are learned and orienteering can be enjoyed either as a competitive sport or merely as a walk around some of the parks and countryside.
“It’s perfect for children, who can run around in a fun, safe, controlled environment and also excellent for adults wanting to shape up, try something new and meet new friends.”