Putting a track down slope from a swale. Will it work?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by our eden, May 8, 2012.

  1. our eden

    our eden Junior Member

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    Hi, I wonder if anyone can help me. we are here in Portugal & in the valley that that we live, the local council want to build a track up the the valley to a water mine & replace the old tube for a larger. Originally they wanted to follow a the old foot path but this would have meant that they destroy a lot of terraces & destabilize the slope. So being a permaculture designer I came up with the design ( see it here: link) . Adapting Geoff Lawton's Sketchup model (thank you Geoff:)) I put the proposed track,down slope from and on contour swale, ten or so meters higher the the old path, in line and up on the top terraces. My question is do you think it is wise to put a compacted earth track attached to a swale? Have any of you tried this and what was the out come? Also do you think it is a good design? any ideas on how i could improve it?
    I have been invited to present my design to the council in the next months. They are have put a hold on following the old path and are keen to know what I propose.
     
  2. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    Sorry, just joined to dropbox but still cant access the file...
     
  3. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    403 error when trying to view the image.
     
  4. our eden

    our eden Junior Member

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  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I like it! Nice example of the problem being the solution. You can use the base of the swale as the path - so long as the front edge of the swale isn't compacted. This is where the water infiltrates. If you compact it then you end up with an interruption channel not a swale. The downside to using the base of the swale is that it is going to be wet! And often muddy, so not so pleasant for regular use. A path parallel to it and just under it (where the land returns back to it's previous profile) would work, and give access to the front edge of the swale for planting, chopping and dropping, and harvesting.
    The use of the dam and the placement of your spillway looks like a great idea. You could put in another swale further down the hill under the spillway to catch that water and infiltrate it too.
    Don't forget that swales are tree planting systems. It looks like there is some water in the landscape already (moss on the paths) and if you wet it too much you may get slippage and end up with the side of the hill at the bottom of the hill. Trees hold the soil and draw up excess moisture. So you'll need to plan for a large number of plants to go in there as soon as the earthworks are complete.
    Great work!
     
  6. our eden

    our eden Junior Member

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    Thank you,:) Thought i would work, yes the track will be rarely driven, and will mostly be walked by us and our horse. And yes tree planting will be done straight after the earth works, along with soil repair cover crops like lupin & alfalfa. Thanks for the idea of a second swale down slope, there is already a lot of terraces there but ill see if another swale can fit.
    Thanks again for your encouragement and advice.
    If you'd like to see any more of our previous design work visit www.nurturingournature.blogspot.com and you'll find a portfolio page.
    Enjoy
     

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