Practical solutions for dealing with drainage

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Visit the path in wet weather conditions, or after a period of heavy rainfall, to identify any problems caused by water.

Look for clues on the path or nearby:

  • Look for problems caused by water lying on the path such as ponding or mud

  • Look for problems caused by water flowing onto, or under, the path from the ground such as seepage, underground springs, soft patches or side slopes

  • Look for problems caused by water flowing down, or across, the path such as seepage, scouring or watercourses

watersources

The list below shows typical path drainage problems caused by water, with examples of practical solutions that can assist in dealing with each problem. Use the list to identify any problems you may have found on your path, and then select a practical solution that can fix it.

Problem: Muddy path

  • Scrape off mud, if required remove overhanging vegetation to allow sunlight and the wind to dry out the surface

  • Clean out existing ditches or closed drains where blocked

  • Install new ditches or closed drains if none currently exist

  • Improve, or create, cambers, or cross falls, to drain water into ditches or drains

  • Build an aggregate path to raise surface above adjacent ground levels

Problem: Soft, deep mud on the path

  • Find the source of water and divert it away from the path with an open ditch or closed drain e.g. French drain

  • Improve, or create, cambers or cross falls to drain water into ditches or drains

  • Build an aggregate path on geotextile or geocomposite to separate and protect the path from the soft ground

Problem: Soft mud deposited over the path

  • Scrape off mud and re-dig ditches to prevent water running onto the path, so that the problem is eliminated

Problem: Path crosses wet ground

  • Divert the route of the path if possible

  • If the ecological value of the wet ground is low – install a suitable drainage system

  • If the ecological value of the wet ground is medium – build a raised aggregate path on geotextile or geocomposite to separate the path from the wet ground

  • If the ecological value of the wet ground is high – build a boardwalk using either a timber boardwalk with recycled plastic support posts, or an entire recycled plastic boardwalk

Problem: Water flowing onto the path from a side slope

  • If an obtrusive drainage system is suitable for the site, install a ditch to catch water with piped culverts to carry water under the path

  • If an obtrusive drainage system is not suitable for the site, install a French drain, or filter drain to collect and carry water away from path

Problem: Water running down the path

  • Install a cut-off drain where water runs onto the path to catch and carry water off the path. Don't install a water bar, as the raised bar will create a step in the surface which will cause a physical barrier, and potential hazard

Problem: Water flowing across the path

  • Install a piped culvert where water flows across the path to catch and carry the water under the path. Do not install a open cross drain, as the drain will create a large open gap in the surface which will cause a physical barrier and potential hazard

Problem: Water ponding on the path

  • Install a lett at the path verge or a grip through the verge to drain water off the path

Problem: Wet, soft patch on the path

  • If the problem is caused by a seepage or spring under the path, find the source of the water, catch it and then carry it away from the path with an appropriate drainage feature. Repair the section of path affected by the problem

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