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Riding Arena Construction Guide: Part 2 – Levelling the Site

This guide will outline the critical steps to levelling your chosen site. Before any work commences, it’s essential to ensure no services run under the arena site, particularly electrical supplies! The best way to do this is to contact your local supplier, and they will scan the area for you. In addition, any overhead cables must have enough clearance during the construction period and for future access.

Tools Required:


Laser Level

1. Getting Started

The first step to preparing your site is to measure out the arena. You will need the arena’s size plus an additional meter all the way around, which will provide a levelled area around the school that will allow plenty of space for maintenance access and drainage whilst also being aesthetically pleasing.

At this stage, do not forget to leave extra space for the cut and fill banks. A minimum of two metres should be allowed for every metre of fall across the whole site. You will need a laser level to work this out. If more space is available, increase the minimum number of metres allowed to create shallower banks that are easy to maintain.

2. Clearing the Site

Remove all vegetation and topsoil from the site. We recommend stripping the vegetation first and disposing of it as you go. This method will leave you with clean topsoil that can be piled up and used to dress the banks.

3. Cut & Fill Subsoil

This work should not be completed during wet weather as rainwater will seep into the soil and make it harder to compact. Doing so will leave you with a spongy site and make the next build stage impossible.

The cut and fill process aims to create a level platform by removing subsoil from the arena’s higher side and depositing it at the lower end. You should aim to complete the work in 300mm layers, creating the banks as you go and achieving a good level of compaction. We highly recommend using a laser level and a heavy tracked excavator with an experienced operator for this stage.

4. Dressing the Site

Once the cut and fill stage has been completed, the banks can be dressed in the topsoil previously put aside. We advise positioning the arena gate on the virgin ground where the cut meets the fill to avoid a steep incline or decline into the riding arena.

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