0 Harrogate FC get new pitch

Harrogate Town have had their existing CNG Stadium pitch re-levelled by White Horse Contractors (Northern) Ltd.

WHC(N). WHC (N) was invited to tender for the redevelopment works to a specification drawn up by James Westwood of the STRI. Tenders went back in just prior to Christmas 2011 and White Horse was appointed at the beginning of 2012. The remit was to have the pitch, graded, drained, irrigated, seeded and grown in ready for the 2012/13 season.

This gave us 6 weeks of construction time and 8 weeks of grow in. Harrogate Town AFC has played at their Wetherby Road site since 1920. The pitch has been known for its good surface, a testimony to the work put in by Jim Hague, Alf and loyal club supporters over many years. However the pitch had the draw back of a considerable cross fall, close to 2 metre of fall from centre spot to the North East end of the pitch.

As such it was decided that the pitch required being re-levelled and as part of the works a new drainage system installed plus a new automatic irrigation sprinkler system.

Top soil respread work commenced at the end of April and required that the entire pitch surface be stripped of top soil to allow regarding of the subsoil. Due to the constraints of the site this meant that the pitch had to be worked in sections. Top soil being stripped and stored to one part of the pitch whilst the other was graded.

To add to the puzzle most of the materials produced in lowering one end needed to be moved diagonally across the pitch to raise the opposite corner. Once graded the soil was returned over all areas and trimmed. A new drainage system was introduced with perimeter ring drains and 80mm lateral drains at 4m centres. Collector drains connected the new drainage to existing outlets.

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Drainage installed at 4m spacing A new Rainbird Irrigation System was installed by Full Circle Irrigation in conjunction with WHC (N) as the drainage was installed. Logistics of material import and export were complicated as space for storing construction materials and spoil was very much at a premium.

Coupled with this was access of the busy Wetherby Road. Scheduling deliveries and "muck-away" wagons proved to be a complicated juggling act. Once drainage and irrigation was completed and an initial cultivation undertaken WHC(N) then placed a 25mm layer of sports sand over the pitch. Final cultivations, amelioration of sand grading took place to form the final seed bed.

The pitch was seeded with a Johnsons Premier mix treated with Growmax at a rate of 55g/m2 and a pre seeding fertiliser at 40g/m2 applied. Then it rained.

And it continued to rain for the rest of the summer. The pitch was grown in, albeit the first games had to be scheduled away to allow additional growth for over-seeded areas affected by wash from the heavy rain that continued seemingly every other day.

WHC(N) will return at the end of this football season to install the final key drainage element sand slits at 1m spacing over the pitch. Weather allowing of course!

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