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Sports pitches on UK soil will require primary land drainage. Secondary systems are also likely to be a required, especially where the sports pitch playing surface needs to be used throughout the year. Playing on waterlogged turf is difficult, often dangerous, and of course will result in the grass being damaged.
The lack of efficient drainage or inadequate drainage will lead to the cancellation of sporting fixtures, resulting in financial losses.

An efficient drainage system maintains grass sward quality, improves soil structure, keeps your playing surface at its best and reduces the need for cancellations. A sound investment for any facility who need to provide a high quality, dependable playing surface.

Bothams Prestige work with our clients to advise on a suitable solution for their playing surface based on soil type, pitch requirements, and the surrounding environment. We are equipped to offer repairs to existing drainage systems, provide end of season installations or design and construct a comprehensive drainage system for a new playing surface. We have a range of specialist drainage machinery and huge expertise in trenching, pipe installation, verti-draining and lateral drainage.


A primary drainage system consists of a network of lateral drains that carry water to a main drain or outfall and away from the playing surface. Primary drainage systems also form the infrastructure for any subsequent secondary systems.

We use specialist trenchers to excavate 25 to 160mm wide trenches. The trencher collects the spoil, lays the pipeline, and tops the trench with gravel in one swift and efficient motion. We can also lay drains with specific falls, by using a laser which is attached to the trencher.

With a regular maintenance programme, an efficient drainage system will enhance the life and quality of your playing surface and is far more cost effective than dealing with water logging and soil compaction once the drainage is established.


Where primary drainage systems are unable to disperse all the surface water, we recommend secondary surface drainage. This is installed over the top of the primary drainage system, aiding the removal of surface water, carrying it down to the primary drains and away from the playing area.

Secondary drainage consists of sand slitting or banding and is carried out using our specialist machinery with low ground pressure tyres to protect the existing playing surface.


Sand slitting or sand banding are both secondary drainage methods. Sand slitting is achieved with the use of specialist trenchers that insert slits or trenches into the soil. They can be 50 to 75mm wide and from 200 to 300mm deep. We then back fill those slits or trenches with gravel followed by sand or Rootzone.

Sand banding is a similar process to sand slitting and is carried out with a specialist disc trencher, which excavates trenches and removes the soil from the pitch. The trenches are usually 50mm wide and up to 400mm in depth. The trenches can be inserted at varying widths, depending on the type of soil present and the use of the pitch. The trenches are topped up with gravel and then sand in most cases and the materials are compressed to prevent surface settlement.

The result of this is to enable rapid dispersal of surface water into the existing drainage network with minimal cost and as little disturbance to the soil as possible. The playing field can be used almost immediately following the completion of the procedure.


Another form of secondary drainage is performed with a gravel band drainer. The gravel band drainer cuts a channel in the turf of 100 to 350mm deep and 25mm wide. This channel can be filled with a variety of back fill material, via a hydraulic vibrating gravel box, and then a wheel is rolled over the surface to compress the fill and leave the turf flat. The channels link into the primary drainage system enabling efficient water disposal.

We use a Shelton Gravel Band Drainer and use it to backfill with gravel or in some cases Lytag which is a very efficient hydro-conductor. Where conditions allow, surfaces are playable within hours from the gravel bands being installed.


The Blec Sandmaster de-compacts and installs slit drains in one pass, working effectively on all sports fields with very little surface disturbance. The machine combines the Blec Ground Breaker and Sandmaster to produce a matrix of sand slits at 260mm centres, with virtually no surface disturbance.

The Sandmaster can help a range of different sports grounds and facilities with minimal surface disturbance. The unique system permits the use of damp or dry sand, gravel, or various soil materials down to a depth of between 750mm to 1750mm depending on conditions. The Blec Sandmaster can relieve compaction and create drainage channels which it fills with sand in one pass and is ideal for rejuvenating secondary drainage systems.

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