Small Woodland Owners' Group

Damp ground and tracks

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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby dredger99 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:58 pm

Just a quick update.

The plastic track that i mentioned earlier works well enough it has sunk slightly in certain very wet spots but the weight is distributed over a wider area so it doesn't create tyre guttering, the pitfall is that it is expensive and it doesn't go a long way.


Has anyone tried just getting a few tons of mot 1 and filled in the gutters created by the tyres and see what happens.
I'm sure that it will surely sink a bit more but eventually it will stop...... Won't it :shock:

Dredger.
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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby SimonFisher » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:01 am

dredger99 wrote:Has anyone tried just getting a few tons of mot 1 and filled in the gutters created by the tyres and see what happens.
I'm sure that it will surely sink a bit more but eventually it will stop...... Won't it :shock:

That appears to be the approach taken by some of the users of tracks surrounding our woods and it seems to work.

When we first got our wood and I asked about the problem of ruts so deep that your vehicle (or my trailer) grounds, I was advised by regular users of the tracks to drive to one side of the ruts - putting one set of wheels in between the ruts and allowing the other side of the vehicle to ride wider than the existing tracks. Along one stretch of track into our woods where getting in with my trailer last winter was tricky, I adopted that practice and it worked quite well. Further deepening of the mud ruts was halted and earth has now been pushed into the old ruts.
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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby Lincswood » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:38 pm

What I've done so far is to let friends and colleagues know that if they have any rubble lying around (or know anyone else who has any) to let me know and I will take it away. I tend to put it in small bags (heavy plastic) that can be lugged in and out of a pickup or car boot. I've got about 30 so far and I've stored them in the wood. At the moment everywhere is dry, but come the winter and the damp patches appear, so I'll just keep putting it down until the track stays firm. Another good idea is to put a 'wanted' ad in the paper or in freecycle. I got a couple of calls this way.
Having once suffered the embarrassment of very nearly getting my Landie stuck in some ruts I'd stupidly dug, I don't want it to happen again!
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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby Terry » Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:09 am

I think that a good bit of effort put into access tracks will pay dividends long term.
You do need to do what you can to give the water somewhere to go - a ditch for instance.
A good surface of scalpings delivered by the lorry load is the most economical. Dont just put it on the existing mud - try to remove the soft layer down to subsoil. If you need to, build it up again with rubble/hardcore etc.
Another useful idea is some sort of geotextile separation layer to keep the surfacing material from gradually working its way down into the lower layers.

Not sure what you have put your plastic paving jobs on Dredger, but just putting them on the mud will give limited gain as they will gradually sink down. If you read the manufacturers advice they will tell you that, as with any other surface for driving on, proper ground prep is required - see rubble/hardcore above. There are many resellers of these plastic pavers, but only a handful of manufactrers and the resellers dont often give you all the info. I have laid quite a lot of them for access to our house and get them for about £9.50 / m2 delivered, although I think minimum order is a pallet load, the m2 of which I dont remember.
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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby davetb » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:58 pm

Finally got to the woods - haven't been for a few months.
Here's some photos of the bricks in the ruts.
I had to try to move the grass to get to the bricks, they are hidden.
It's very unobtrusive and I know where the bricks are.
The ruts are about 6 inches deep - above the bricks.
You can't tell that they are there.
Attachments
image.jpg
Close up of bricks in the ruts
image.jpg
Needs a strim - first visit for a few months
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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby dredger99 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:10 am

I think this is going to be something i try out.
The tracks you have in your picture looks very similar to my ones but some of mine are well developed now so instead of digging out the edges to fit the 18" square plastic track i think just laying bricks like this looks a lot simpler and very effective.

I have tried a wee experimant with some rocks following the same principle as the bricks and it seems to work.
thanks for the update and the pictures Davetb.
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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:41 am

We just had the wettest winter on record, but my 50 yard access road and parking area were firm and road-like throughout the deluge. My neighbours 2 miles away weren't able to get in their wood at all until mid summer. The difference is I've got three feet of scalpings, laid over railway sleepers.

When I first found out 1/3 acre of my wood by the road was a former travellers site and council dump / yard I was mortified, but now realise its a blessing- I have a partly tarmacked entrance, and a large very firm dry area, once I've scraped off 3" of leaf litter, the brambles and bottle shards. It also the obvious place for my shed as no big trees will root there (willow and coppice seems to be OK).

Frankly, tinkering with bricks and plastic is somewhat faffing at the edges. If you want good solid permanent tracks, do what the FC do, scrape the mud off the top with a digger, dig a drain across every few yards if in a damp location or on a slope, put ditches by the side if necessary, then wack down a decent depth of scalpings or MOT 1. You should only need to do it once, there are plenty of contractors, and if you sign up for the FC Woodfuel Grant scheme you might get some of it paid for, tracks to bring inaccessible woods back under management are very much part of the objectives. A well made road will last centuries, the Romans were pretty good at it. Good access increases the value and manageability of a wood, its one of the first things many buyers look for, so its a decent investment.

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-woodfuel
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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby SimonFisher » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:28 pm

oldclaypaws wrote:Frankly, tinkering with bricks and plastic is somewhat faffing at the edges. If you want good solid permanent tracks...

There are many of us I'm sure who have flower rich grass tracks and want to keep them that way. I'd certainly rather wander round my wood in the summer watching the butterflies on those flowers than see them replaced with stones. Occasionally a pot hole might get out of hand and need a bit of attention if comparitively easy vehicular access is to be maintained, but rather that than put a 'highway' through it!
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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:48 pm

many of us I'm sure who have flower rich grass tracks and want to keep them that way. I'd certainly rather wander round my wood in the summer watching the butterflies on those flowers than see them replaced with stones


I agree, however having a firm surface underfoot doesn't necessarily mean you cant also have pleasant flowers on top.

25 years ago my 1/3rd of an acre travellers camp was abandoned and re-entry prevented, leaving bare scalpings. In the next 25 years it was colonized by pioneer species, willows, brambles, birch, Hazel, sycamore, creating a dense 'jungle'; so much so that when I bought it I had no idea it had been a flat clear area and that it was firm underneath. After removing the pioneer trees I was able to drive on it, and the only reason I didnt leave the 3" of leaf litter is there is glass among it which causes punctures, so some of it needed to be moved to one side. Where I have cleared it back to bare scalpings, its amazing how quick various plants are colonizing it, I'm having to strim it to prevent it reverting to jungle. Several of the pictures in my 'herbarium' are from the scalping-covered area, which is smothered in burdock, thistles, nightshade, ragwort, bindweed, woundwort, etc. Its firm 3" down, but the thin layer of soil is enough to support a carpet of flowers and is a magnet for butterflies. In the big butterfly weekend our scalping covered area was awash with Peacocks, Brimstones, Night Watchmen, Silver Fratillaries and numerous bees and Dragonflies.

Having a firm surface underneath doesn't preclude having wild flowers on top, nature will rapidly try to reclaim it. If the human race was wiped out by ebola or whatever, within 3 years Trafalgar Square and every motorway would be covered in grasses, buddleia, and a knee high mass of herbaceous growth.

Some good pictures here of nature reclaiming man-made areas to prove the point;

Other-Reclaimed-by-nature-1.jpg


Other-Reclaimed-by-nature-6.jpg


Other-Reclaimed-by-nature-4.jpg
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Re: Damp ground and tracks

Postby Terry » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:39 am

SimonFisher wrote:
oldclaypaws wrote:Frankly, tinkering with bricks and plastic is somewhat faffing at the edges. If you want good solid permanent tracks...

There are many of us I'm sure who have flower rich grass tracks and want to keep them that way. I'd certainly rather wander round my wood in the summer watching the butterflies on those flowers than see them replaced with stones. Occasionally a pot hole might get out of hand and need a bit of attention if comparitively easy vehicular access is to be maintained, but rather that than put a 'highway' through it!


Agreed Simon, but I think the OP was referring to his main access rather than all rides/tracks.
I dont think your track with pot holes occasionally getting out of hand is the same as the OP's track where getting stuck up to your axles is an issue.
The frustrations of getting stuck in the mud as well as the damage done to the flora, not to mention damage to vehicles when scraping along to get to a parking area just to access the woods is imho worth putting some effort in.
Spending a few winter mornings struggling in the mud just to get to your wood is going to detract from the enjoyment of the place.

In my case the track also leads to the house so struggling through mud is not an option for day to day usage.

I would have thought that most woods would need a firm area and good access track to it for performing necessary woodland related functions. Ideally these would be kept to a minimum to limit impact, cost and effort.
As paws infers, nature will carry on regardless and adapt to these areas much the same as it has to our other woodland 'management' activities.

As with everything there is a balance to be maintained between benefit and impact.
All woods are not equal as regards management aims and how we use them which will skew this balance in one direction or another.
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