Oh, the trials and tribulations of the British weather. Whistlewood is a quagmire right now. Prolonged rain has soaked the ground, pushing back the start of the Round House build and bringing home the need for a track.
Of course, we must have a track to pass building controls*, but we planned to lay it during the build. Now we have to start with the track. It isn’t glamorous, but it means we can have materials delivered to the Round House building site without them getting stuck in the mud.
The general parking and the grassy track will have a base of grass reinforcement plastic mesh. We will lay the mesh over closely mown grass. It gives a firm surface and allows the grass to grow. In fact, one of its sales points is that we will be able to mow it. Hurray!
Our track has two elements. A paved road leading from the site gate to the hub gate, with parking. And a grassy track for wheelchair access to the Round House and disabled toilet**. Lighting will indicate ‘a pathway to safety in the dark’.
The track is over 90 metres long and the standard width for a track – 3.7 metres. Along its length, lay three important features. While we can use the top field for parking during events, we are building a smaller, wet weather, parking area for eight to sixteen cars. The parking area will serve during working Saturdays and smaller activities. As the track approaches the hub gate, we will build a turning circle. And the turning circle will house two disabled parking spaces.
The track widens to six metres to meet the hub perimeter. We will buy a new gate which will have a vehicle side and a pedestrian entrance.
See below for the method of laying the track.
We are still hoping to start the foundations in March and before we break ground we must fence off the building site. Matt Lee has generously donated security fencing to enclose the site. Thank you, Matt. All we had to do was take it down and move it. Another round of gratitude goes to DG Light Haulage Ltd. Mat Bonner the Operations Manager kindly provided a lorry, driver and ‘mate’ free of charge. When we have finished building the fencing will come in handy to cordon ‘behind the scenes’ parts of the site.
Laying the track
We will lay the track in three simple steps
- Remove the topsoil to a depth of 38 cm (which is a ploughs depth). This will expose the clay below
- Fit a non-woven geotextile. Unfortunately, we cannot afford recycled geotextile. But we are confident that our plastic will stay in place and not cause harm
- Fill the track with recycled MOT type one hardcore and roll it to create a solid bed
But we can’t do the whole track in one go. The heavy equipment that will bring the hardcore and roll it needs a track. So we will dig, pour and roll a section. The whole team moves forward and we dig, pour and roll the next section. A little like the process that took the railways across America.
How many bottles
With many Whistlewood members pitching in to collect bottles from pubs and hotels across the region we have about 3,000 bottles. Please forgive us for not counting them. If you know of a source of bottles, please contact us and we will arrange collection. If you are collecting bottles, please bring them down to Whistlewood and pop them in the bottle store just inside the site gate.
All Whistlewood supporters (whether members or not) are invited to Amalfi White (Derby Road, Melbourne) on 28 February 2018 at 7.30 pm, when we will be holding a drinks party to raise funds.
Among other opportunities to support Whistlewood we will be selling ‘messages’ (you write your own) to put into our bottle floor. Come and send a message to posterity. If you can’t make the party, but would like to buy a message, please use this link to email Whistlewood.
Grass reinforcement plastic mesh – material used to create a stable grassed surface
Recycled MOT type one hardcore – a type of stone mix that mets the Highway Agency’s Specification for highway works, Clause 803 (SHW 803). It consists of material from a maximum size of 63mm to dust. The variation in size gives a load-bearing layer with fewer air pockets and greater strength.
Non-woven geotextile – a synthetic fabric used in many applications from coastal defence to weed suppression.
Security fencing aka perimeter fencing – a structure that prevents access to an area. See Wikipedia for more details.
*A fire engine, weighing 12 tonnes must be able to get within 40 metres of the Round House.
**At the moment we only have funds to complete the legal minimum. We shall fundraising to bring the designated track for wheelchair users to other parts of the hub.
Next post in this series
A round up of Round House activities