Open ditches

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Open ditches are the simplest option – they can have a V-shaped or U-shaped channel section, depending on the amount of space available within the path corridor. Verges between the ditch and the path should be a minimum of 300mm or maximum of 500mm.

At shallow gradients, ditches should have smooth beds for unrestricted water flow. Ditches must have a sufficient fall to allow free flowing water, but not so steep that scouring or undercutting to the bottom and sides of the channel occurs. Gradients between 1:15 and 1:40 will work effectively. If steeper ditches are unavoidable, try to include bends and level areas to reduce water flow speed. Short steep sections may be piped to avoid erosion of the ditch.

Open ditch


V-shaped ditches should be 150-300 mm deep, with 45Β° side slopes
U-shaped ditches should be 200-300mm deep and 300-450mm wide at top – the sides should be angled slightly for stability


All ditches should be inspected annually and cleared of blockages
Remove silt and debris and ensure it will not re-enter the ditch
Clear and remove vegetation growth so that it will not enter the ditch as debris


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