muddy road/track tips and advice

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by hasgar, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. hasgar

    hasgar New Member

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    Hi folks, first time poster anywhere so please be gentle :) I live jn the UK and have bought a few acres of land that we live next to on a boat with my family. I am hoping tp solve ghe problem of access to the land as it is heavy clay and is impassable to a point by vehicle. I have had the idea to use recycled concrete railway sleepers to allow access but the costs are crazy ( it will cost at least £1000 to cross 25metres of this mud). I have had an jdea to use used car/truck tyres (tires) tied together with heavy rope or bolted together to form a modular mesh/network which i will then fill with gravel. The weight should ensure that the tyres remain together and allow water to drain out as well. Being a blue sky novice i fail to see any negatives to this approach but i would value constructive advice to save me a lot of hard work and a small amount of expense before i grow a pair and begin to dig and stop dreaming! Does anyone have any ideas about this or possible alternatives? I do not want to put down hard core rubble as a base as these would require planning permission from our local government and technically we should not be living on the land without their permission in the first place so ideas that will not draw attention to our acfivities would be nice! I hope to plant willow along the track to help dry it out but we do need a short term solution as wjnter setes in. Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Why is the water collecting there in the first place? Can you improve the drainage?
     
  3. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    If there is enough slope to the land, you can put in swales to prevent so much water from collecting for a start.
    First thing to do is like eco says, find out why water collects in that area in the first place, then you will be able to better plan methods to control this problem.
    It is also possible to use green covers such as Scottish moss or Irish moss for a durable road covering, this will also start the process of opening the clay which will help with water problem.
    Gravel is not always the best solution, just usually the first one thought of.
     
  4. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Hi, hasgar. I have a love/hate relationship with my 100 meter clay driveway on the side of a hill. 25 meters is not all that far, so please don't spend a fortune.....yet :) I also have a lot of willow trees, and maybe there are some that don't need water in the soil 24/7, (mine surely do) but if you have enough water to keep willows alive perhaps that driveway is in the wrong place, or a very difficult place.

    Is this a level driveway or one on a hillside?

    If it's level you will probably need a French drain between the driveway and the ground water source so that your stretch of soil can dry out. (sounds like whatever the boat is floating on is your ground water source?)

    If it's a hillside then some diagonal trenches every 3 meters will gather excess water and run it, through gravity flow, off to the side.

    Even then, your clay will be too wet to use when it rains, and you'll need a base layer of large drain rock about as deep as your hand, from finger to wrist (sorry my millimeters fail me here). Then you'll need a couple layers of large rock over the top of that, 35mm, so that heavy rain and erosion cannot carry it away.

    If you really want to do something inventive with tires, you can bury them so that just the edge is slightly above ground and fill the centers/interios with cheap concrete mix, like the stuff they put in fence post holes. They must touch each other and be wider than the vehicle tire tracks. This works best on level ground. It has been used for heavy equipment to work at the side of a pond or lake. They will start to sink down below the level of the ground if it is mucky enough, so putting them on a thick layer of base rock, as above, slows that process. If they do sink down, layers of the 35 mm rock can maintain that foundation.

    Sometimes even moving the driveway over to the driest side, might be 2 meters or 4 meters can make a huge difference. Clay will always absorb whatever you put on it, so it will be a maintenance project.

    It's going to take willows years to help you out here, and I'm not sure they are going to help in the long run. My willows have just gone through a 5-year long drought, and have not had water at their bases, but it's only been about 3 meters away, and the oldest willow has had several trunks that have fallen over. I haven't ever known willows to dry up an area where they are planted. There are other trees that might do this, but it sounds like you don't have a Mediterranean climate that would allow frost-sensitive trees to grow there.

    There are places to get free tires....maybe trying a small area first to see how it works would be helpful.
     
  5. Steve Burgess

    Steve Burgess Junior Member

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    Just a word of caution about tyres. They are very easy to get onto your property, but very difficult and expensive to get off your property if you decide you no longer want them. Where I am, they are regarded as industrial waste, and it costs you a lot of money to legally dispose of them off your property, and it is illegal to accumulate them on your property if you are not an official waste disposal facility. This may not be the case where you are, however it is worth checking out before you have people cheerfully 'donating' truckloads of used tyres for your driveway (which then become your legal problem, not theirs).
     

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