Farleigh House… the story so far
Following investigations into the feasibility of developing two sports pitches at Farleigh House, a listed property in Bath, STRI became involved in the development of the site, which is to be used by Bath Rugby Club.
One of the main challenges for the team has been to minimise the visual impact of the site within a historic parkland.
The project has evolved over time, with close interaction between Bruce Craig (owner), Nick Blofield and Jeremy Wilton of Bath Rugby Club, David Reed (Estate Manager), architects Barton Wilmore, M J Abbott (contractor) and Steve Gingell of STRI, as ideas changed and issues arose. This team approach to decisions has given a unique “life” to the project.
The first natural turf pitch to be developed was on the site of an existing pitch. This pitch had to fit into the landscape so that it looked unobtrusive and did not affect the views and parkland tree groups. Pitch construction involved minor cut and fill, close centred drainage, and sand amelioration of the native soil. This would give good standards of playability performance and tolerance of high levels of wear. To hasten establishment, 40 mm thick fibre reinforced turf was chosen to match the sand ameliorated topsoil. A full irrigation system was installed which is partially fed by spring water on site.
Steve Gingell of STRI said: “This project highlights how a close working relationship is needed to ensure the expectations and requirements of the client are met on such a complex project. The development of pitches in a historic landscape has been a fascinating challenge which has combined the need for quality playing surfaces with the requirement to fit them sympathetically into the landscape to satisfy conservation officers and the project team.”
The project continues with the imminent construction of a small third generation artificial surface training area within a walled garden. There is also the possibility of a second natural turf pitch being developed.