Drainage system

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Keep your drainage system clear! Drainage system failure inevitably results in extensive damage to a path requiring expensive major repairs.

Silt, debris and vegetation cleared from drainage features, such as open ditches, must be disposed of carefully. Ensure materials do not re-enter the drainage feature again or block other drainage features e.g. culverts.


  • Clear out silt, debris, leaf litter and vegetation that will block the ditch

  • Remove any obstructions restricting water flow along the ditch

  • Deepen and regrade bottom of ditch where water is standing and not flowing

  • Avoid removing side wall vegetation if possible

  • Widen and re-batter side walls where undercutting has occurred

  • You will need to comply with the Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) when clearing ditches – most path operations will be covered by General Binding Rules, but larger ditches (those over a metre wide) may need a licence before being cleared

French drain

  • Empty catch pits, clear leaf litter, vegetation and debris from drain stone surface

  • Replace blocked drain pipe and stone

  • Install a catch pit in the repaired drain section to prevent it happening again

  • Install geotextile to prevent siltation


  • Clear out silt, debris and vegetation blocking pipes, inlet and outlet ditches

  • Re-firm loose headwall stone where there is movement or large gaps

  • Replace any missing headwall stone

  • Top-up and re-compact surface over the top of culvert if the pipe is exposed or where there is any path settlement

Cut-off drain

  • Clear debris and leaf litter from grate openings

  • Clear out silt and debris from the drain channel and outlet end

  • Replace broken grate

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© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh