Sports Pitch Design & Construction

Contracted on a ‘design & build’ basis by Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council, Turfdry transformed a disused patch of former colliery land into beautiful sports pitches complete with the Turfdry Drainage System using Hydraway Sportsdrain. The project was part of a larger overall development by the Council, which included housing, community facilities, and a large park - in addition to the sports pitches handled by Turfdry – and therefore required a good deal of communication between the various parties involved to ensure smooth logistical operations.

The site’s historical function as a colliery presented challenges to its transformation into quality sports facilities. Chief amongst these challenge were old mineshafts directly beneath the pitches, which had been capped by thick concrete slabs, and covered with several metres of heavy engineering clay. In addition to this, the subsurface conditions were far from ideal, with no topsoil layer and very little subsoil present on the site of the pitches. This presented substantial problems with the construction of the pitch with the appropriate gradients to assist with natural drainage – as per Sport England guidelines.

Drawing on its history of providing cost-effective, environmentally friendly solutions, Turfdry arranged to use excavated subsoil that was to be removed from the adjacent Barratt Homes development, incorporating it into the pitches instead. This not only demanded cooperation between Turfdry and Barratt Homes, but also the Environment Agency, with which Turfdry worked closely throughout the project. With the suitable subsoil layer created, Turfdry then imported some good quality topsoil to finish off the pitches.

The construction itself was undertaken using specialist excavators and bulldozers fitted with laser control systems linked to computer design software. The pitches are first designed using 3D modelling software assisted by satellite surveys; these plans are then fed into the machinery, which in the hands of skilled operators, result in efficiently, optimally constructed pitches.

Following the pitches’ construction, the unique Turfdry Drainage System using Hydraway Sportsdrain was installed at 2m centres, with an additional ‘cut-off’ drain circling the perimeter of the site to help overcome drainage issues presented by the site’s ‘bowled’ nature.

The Hydraway Sportsdrain that lies at the heart of the Turfdry Drainage System is an alternative to conventional plastic pipe drainage systems that provides maximum drainage efficiency with minimum disturbance. Whilst water can only infiltrate a plastic pipe over 6% of its total surface area, water can enter a Hydraway Sportsdrain over 75% of its total surface area – which is itself 40% greater than the surface area of a conventional 60mm plastic pipe. This means that water is removed from playing surfaces at a much greater rate, despite the fact that it is installed in trenches only 50mm wide – considerably smaller than those required for traditional plastic pipe.

Subsequent to the drainage installation, final grading work is carried out on the pitches before cultivation and seeding.

Project Summary

Services Provided by Turfdry

  • Site Survey
  • Pitch Design & Construction
  • Drainage Design & Installation
  • Cultivation & Seeding
  • Pitch Maintenance


Newcstle-under-Lyme Borough Council



Silverdale Athletic Football Club
9 Scot Hay Road