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Riding Arena Construction Guide: Part 3 – Laying the Base

In this guide, we will be explaining how to lay your riding arena base. Your first action should be to collect or divert any fast-moving water away from the arena, which you can achieve by installing a toe drain at the bottom of the cut bank. If there is a large amount of land, car parking or hardstanding situated above the arena, we recommend diverting the water with an earth bund or drain at the top of the bank.


Tools Required:


String Line

Tape Measure

Ground Markers

1. Drainage

Measure out the arena size, ensuring all corners are at 90° right angles. The easiest way to do this is to measure from corner to corner across both sides. If both measurements are the same, the arena is squared, and you can insert your corner pegs.

Next, mark a line parallel to the arena, halfway between the bottom of the bank and the edge of the new school. Using this line as a guide, dig a 300mm x 450mm (width x depth) trench along the bottom of the cut bank, emptying any collected water into a field or ditch.

We recommend installing drains every 10m across the whole width of the arena. So, for example, a 20m wide school would have one trench down its centre, which can then be linked to the land drain at the bottom of the cut bank. You are now ready to install the lower membrane, drainage pipes and stone.

2. Laying the Membrane, Drainage Pipes & Stone

We recommend that you lay your lower membrane, drainage pipes and stone as soon as possible to ensure you have a rigid base to work on during wet conditions.

Firstly, you should mark out the arena’s perimeter by running a string line down one of the school’s long sides. Next, unroll your first strip of membrane, ensuring that it overlaps the fence line by approximately 150mm. Once you are happy with its position, unroll your next strip of membrane, ensuring that you overlap the existing length by 300mm. Lastly, you should install the stone to a depth of 150mm.

You should aim to lay your stone roughly as you go, keeping it back from the arena’s edges by 1m, which will leave you room to install the fencing.

Once you reach the drainage trench, install the membrane as usual, but make sure to push it down into the drain. Next, you should place a 100mm perforated, flexible pipe down the length of the drainage channel before back-filling it with a 20mm shingle or the same aggregate being used for the drainage layer. You should repeat this process until you have covered the entire arena.

Once complete, you should grade the stone to create a compact and level base for your chosen surface.

Congratulations, you are now ready to install the fencing!

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