Building a welsh piste

By Mr.Bordsenius at 2003-05-28

There is something a little 'tongue in cheek' about building a French Boules Piste on the side of a Welsh hillside, but this is exactly what I've done! I bought my house, in the area I was brought up in, in the Autumn of 2001. With a huge renovation task facing me on the house: damp course, re-plastering, wiring and plumbing I decided to get my priorities right and lay a piste!
by Eifion Williams

Because I was not working with flat terrain, the first task was to dig through the contours of the garden. 4 tons of surplus soil was taken out of the piste area. I was now left with an amphitheatre like terrain with banks on 3 sides of the piste. This has worked out very well, giving an almost gladiatorial feel to the boules playing, and places for benches above.

The sides of the piste are surrounded by old telegraph poles, which costed about fifty pounds. They stop the soil spilling onto the piste and provide an attractive border. Pieces of slate run behind the poles to minimise soil contact against the wood and to prolong the life of the poles I intend to creosote them once a year with the use of a weed sprayer!

The poles were laid down using a spirit level and the soil inside then leveled with a plank, a spirit-level and a rake. I did not use the authentic materials for the base, but it proved to be cost effective and fairly straightforward. The first layer laid down was simply a ton and a half of quarry waste (or crusher run. Again, the plank, level and rake were used to maintain the flat surface. I sieved the next layer (same material) through a garden sieve, barrowed it into the piste, and continued with the leveling process. My final layer was simply a coarse wash sand, about 3/4 of a ton.

The rain has taken some of the sand into the stone below, which has firmed up the surface. Keeping about a dozen bags to one side, I have been able to top it up every other month or so. It's now a year old and is improving all of the time. It drains well and keeps the weeds out! With the addition of a floodlight and a barbecue, the bouling can now begin!

Eifion Williams
Nr Wrexham,
North Wales.

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