- Laser level with tripod and staff
- 13 tonne (or similar) excavator
This can be hired from local tool hire company. We recommend checking the range of the level as some smaller lasers do not have enough reach for this job.
This handy equipment is used in levelling the site. It can also be used to check the depths of the layers and ensure your fence is exactly level.
This can be hired from large plant hire companies, with or without a driver. This is a useful machine for moving large amounts of material and it’s heavy enough to give good compaction.
Do not use a rubber tracked or wheeled excavator! You will not achieve the correct compaction on the cut and fill.
Before any work commences, you should check to make sure there are no services running under the area (particularly electricity supplies!). The best way to do this is to contact your local suppliers and they will scan the area for you.
It is essential that any overhead cables have enough clearance, particularly after parts of your site are built up. Your local supplier can advise you on this.
How to level the site
Normally, a “cut and fill” method is used to level the site. This involves removing material from the higher side of the area and using it to build up the lower side.
Lets get started!
The first step is to measure the arena. You will need the size of your arena (e.g. 40x20m, 60x30m) and an additional meter all the way round (42x22m, 62x32m).
This additional meter provides space for drains. It also provides a levelled area around the arena, which is aesthetically pleasing and useful for maintenance.
At this stage, do not forget to leave extra space for the cut and fill banks, allowing a minimum of 2m for every 1m of fall across the site. A laser level or similar is required to work this out. If more space is available, increase the minimum 2m allowed so that the banks can be shallower and easier to maintain.
Clear the site
Remove all vegetation and topsoil from the site. We recommend stripping the vegetation first and disposing of it, leaving you with clean topsoil to dress the banks later on.
Cut and Fill Subsoil
Remove the subsoil from the higher side of the site and deposit on the lower side. It should be compacted in no more than 300mm layers, forming the banks as you go.
It is very important that good compaction is achieved. A heavy tracked excavator with an experienced operator is recommended for this stage.
With the use of a laser level, the fill side will eventually meet up with the cut side and create a level platform of the required size.
This work should not be done during wet weather conditions. Rainwater will seep into the subsoil and make it impossible to compact successfully. This will result in in a spongy site and make the next stages all but impossible!
Once the cut and fill operation is completed, the banks can be dressed with the topsoil that was previously put aside from the site. We advise placing the arena gate on the virgin ground where the cut meets the fill to avoid a steep incline or decline into the riding arena.The first steps to building your new arena are now complete. Continue to part 3: laying the base materials.