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If there is no watercourse nearby, the water that has been collected from on or around the path needs to be dispersed back into the surrounding land without causing erosion or increasing flood risk. Water entering the soakaway will disperse over a period of hours so it is best to pick an area of land that drains freely and does not get waterlogged at times of heavy rainfall.

Soakaways can be placed at the end of French drains or culvert outfalls to allow water to percolate into the sub-soil downslope from the path.





A large cube-shaped excavated trench, if necessary lined with permeable geotextile sheet filled with clean free draining stone or rubble
There is no available standard size or position because these depend on the amount of water, type of soil and topography
A soakaway should be placed far enough away, and low enough down the slope to avoid water backing up and possibly flooding the path
Soakaways must also be built above the level of the natural water table


There is very little scope for maintaining soakaways, but they should be inspected annually to ensure that there are no signs of heavy silting up (e.g. culverts are full at the entrance or French drains are overflowing)
The stone fill could be dug out and replaced or cleaned in extreme cases


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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