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Riding Arena Construction Guide: Part 2 – Levelling the Site

In this guide we will be outlining the key steps to levelling your chosen arena site. Before any work commences, it’s important to make sure there are no services running 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. It is essential that any overhead cables have enough clearance, both during the construction period and for future access. Your local supplier can advise you on this.

Tools Required:


Laser Level

1. Getting Started

The first step to preparing your site is to measure out the arena. You will need the size of your arena, plus an additional metre all the way around. This additional amount will provide a levelled area around the arena that is aesthetically pleasing, whilst also allowing plenty of space for the drains and access for maintenance.

At this stage, do not forget to leave extra space for the cut and fill banks. You should allow a minimum of two metres for every metre of fall across the site – a laser level, or similar is required to work this out. If more space is available, increase the minimum two metres allowed so that the banks can be shallower and easier 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, leaving you with clean topsoil with which to dress the banks.

3. Cut & Fill Subsoil

This work should not be completed during wet weather – rainwater will seep into the subsoil, making it impossible to compact successfully. This will result in a spongy site and make the next stages of the build all but impossible.

Remove the subsoil from the higher side of the arena site and deposit on the lower end. It should be compacted in no more than 300mm layers, forming the banks as you go. It is 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.

4. Dressing the Site

Once the cut and fill operation is complete, the banks can be dressed in the topsoil that was previously put aside. 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.

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