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Thread: Boggy / Soggy land

  1. #1

    Boggy / Soggy land

    Hi all,

    I have a few acres of land 3 of which are inside a dilapidated Victorian walled garden. The land in the area, as far as I can tell, has 2 - 3 feet of soil on top of clay and as a consequence there are large parts of the walled garden in particular that are extremely soft. This isn't just in the lower part of the garden but also in the higher parts and particularly where it is shady.

    Many years ago the garden did have land drains etc as I can see in the lowest part of the garden there is what looks like a well but I believe is the sump of the drain. I have got the tractor stuck a few times now and I really need to try and deal with the problem.

    Is my only option to dig new land drains?

    Thanks

    D

  2. #2
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    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    If it was drained then where is/was the outfall ? If there was no possibility of it draining away to an outfall (because of levels) then it may have been piped into the sump in which case it would have had to be pumped out. But where to ? A reservoir for the wall garden ? Storage tanks that would allow a gravity feed back to the garden in dry times ? 3 acres is a big walled garden, it would need a lot of water in a dry time and there almost certainly wouldn't have been a mains supply. My guess is that it would have been stored somewhere. Are you able to pump the sump/well out and get it away into a watercourse that leads away from the garden so that you can investigate what's going on down in the hole ?

    The alternative, if you have the space and the falls, is to redrain it. What are the existing drains ? Horsehoe, old 2" ? 3" ?

  3. #3

    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    If it was drained then where is/was the outfall ?
    I believe the out fall at one time would have gone to the river about half a mile away but there are no irrigation ditches visible. There is also a lake about 300 - 400 metres away.

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    3 acres is a big walled garden, it would need a lot of water in a dry time and there almost certainly wouldn't have been a mains supply.
    There is something in the garden that does indeed look like a mains supply and had a manhole on top of it. It looks like a 3 - 4 inch cast metal pipe and may well have been some sort of hydrant.

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    What are the existing drains ? Horsehoe, old 2" ? 3" ?
    I have no idea what the old drains look like as I have never unearthed them, however I was digging a stump out yesterday and I found what looked like an oval pipe with clean breaks so I may have just dug through one of the drains!!

    I think that probably the sensible thing to do would be to dig the sump out. It is about the size of a well and doesn't look like it is particularly wet so maybe nothing is draining into it. About 15 metres away is a depression in the ground where I got the digger stuck and that is 18 inches in water.

    D

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    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    I believe the out fall at one time would have gone to the river about half a mile away but there are no irrigation ditches visible. There is also a lake about 300 - 400 metres away.
    I am asuming that they are at a lower level than the walled garden ? If so there should surely be a means of taking land drainage from higher levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    There is something in the garden that does indeed look like a mains supply and had a manhole on top of it. It looks like a 3 - 4 inch cast metal pipe and may well have been some sort of hydrant.
    With a spring or other water available at a higher level it is possible to install a water pump which uses the height of the water to pump a lesser amout uphill, negating the need for any type of motorised driven pump. A company called Blakes used to manufacture such a device and called it a Hydram. I used one of these for 40 years to pump water from a spring to a header tank on the top of tall brick pillars from where it was gravity fed to the rest of the farm. A company called Green & Carter make them now. http://www.greenandcarter.com/

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    I have no idea what the old drains look like as I have never unearthed them, however I was digging a stump out yesterday and I found what looked like an oval pipe with clean breaks so I may have just dug through one of the drains!!
    Yes, some of the old clay pipes ended up coming out of the ovens a bit mis-shapen !

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    I think that probably the sensible thing to do would be to dig the sump out. It is about the size of a well and doesn't look like it is particularly wet so maybe nothing is draining into it. About 15 metres away is a depression in the ground where I got the digger stuck and that is 18 inches in water.D
    Sorry but that is the last thing I would do. Investigate it by all means but don't just blunder in there and dig it all out. You may regret that if you do.

  5. #5
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    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    Hi all,

    I have a few acres of land 3 of which are inside a dilapidated Victorian walled garden. The land in the area, as far as I can tell, has 2 - 3 feet of soil on top of clay and as a consequence there are large parts of the walled garden in particular that are extremely soft. This isn't just in the lower part of the garden but also in the higher parts and particularly where it is shady.

    Many years ago the garden did have land drains etc as I can see in the lowest part of the garden there is what looks like a well but I believe is the sump of the drain. I have got the tractor stuck a few times now and I really need to try and deal with the problem.

    Is my only option to dig new land drains?

    Thanks

    D
    My experience all those years ago, was that providing there was sufficient outlet, ie fall ,the worst, wettest problems could give the most dramatic results!
    I. Suppose the first thing to do would be to take levels, then try and find some sort of break. In grant aided days we often completely drained fields that if some research work had been done, ie for instance an outfall in to a drain that had been covered over with poor maintenance, the whole scheme was unnecessary.
    If there is some surface drainage pipe somewhere it might be an idea to put dye in to it.
    Jack Caley

  6. #6

    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    I am asuming that they are at a lower level than the walled garden ? If so there should surely be a means of taking land drainage from higher levels.

    With a spring or other water available at a higher level it is possible to install a water pump which uses the height of the water to pump a lesser amout uphill, negating the need for any type of motorised driven pump. A company called Blakes used to manufacture such a device and called it a Hydram. I used one of these for 40 years to pump water from a spring to a header tank on the top of tall brick pillars from where it was gravity fed to the rest of the farm. A company called Green & Carter make them now. http://www.greenandcarter.com/

    Yes, some of the old clay pipes ended up coming out of the ovens a bit mis-shapen !



    Sorry but that is the last thing I would do. Investigate it by all means but don't just blunder in there and dig it all out. You may regret that if you do.
    The sump is at the lowest level of the garden and the whole site has a plateau then a slope running east / west.

    When I say 'dig the sump out' I mean clear the existing sump out so I can see where its outflow goes.

    The manhole cover that was in the garden says Bateman and Moore on it but I am not sure what its purposes was.

    D

  7. #7

    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Caley View Post
    My experience all those years ago, was that providing there was sufficient outlet, ie fall ,the worst, wettest problems could give the most dramatic results!
    I. Suppose the first thing to do would be to take levels, then try and find some sort of break. In grant aided days we often completely drained fields that if some research work had been done, ie for instance an outfall in to a drain that had been covered over with poor maintenance, the whole scheme was unnecessary.
    If there is some surface drainage pipe somewhere it might be an idea to put dye in to it.
    Jack Caley
    Given how overgrown the place is it is difficult to determine where any of the drainage is.

    I think emptying the sump out and then maybe rodding backwards would at least give me an idea of whether there are breaks in the pipes - almost certainly there will be!!

    As a walled garden it was pretty sophisticated in that it had a heated wall so it may well have had some water storage too.

  8. #8

    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Update - I had a drain survey and the inlets pipes are collapsed and the individual segments of pipe have come apart. Looks like new land drains required.

    What would generally be the best diameter for a large field - 100mm or 160mm?

    Thanks

    D

  9. #9
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    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    Update - I had a drain survey and the inlets pipes are collapsed and the individual segments of pipe have come apart. Looks like new land drains required.

    What would generally be the best diameter for a large field - 100mm or 160mm?

    Thanks

    D
    100 mm will be plenty for this size in fact I would suggest you could go down to 50/60mm
    do put shingle over it!
    Jack is the best man for advice though
    Ixworth Solar Farming Ltd.

  10. #10

    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Thanks exFarmer.....hopefully Jack will stop by and comment.

    100mm is significantly cheaper than 160mm and I reckon I will need about 750m

    D

  11. #11
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    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    We do not know enough detail to advise you properly but if the area is 3 acres as per your initial post then you need a proper scheme of a main drain and laterals to feed into it if the whole area is wet. I would guess that a scheme was put in decades ago because as a walled garden it would have been an important amenity and would have merited a full blown drainage plan. I'll wager that the original scheme has all clogged up/de-generated/ or deteriorated in some other way.

    With the greatest of respect, if you are not conversant with land draiange then get someone in, i.e. a local professional drainage contractor, to advise you. Land drainage is part science, part experience. It's not just about shoving drains anywhere.

  12. #12
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    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    Update - I had a drain survey and the inlets pipes are collapsed and the individual segments of pipe have come apart. Looks like new land drains required.

    What would generally be the best diameter for a large field - 100mm or 160mm?

    Thanks

    D
    What diameter pipes were initially installed? Was there weeping rock put in next to the pipe? What type of bed was installed (tree styled, rectangle blocks, etc.).

    As someone else has suggested, having a "pro" provide advice might be helpful - heck, you might even get a bunch of suggestions by asking for "estimates" from qualified contractors and asking a bunch of questions while they are there .

  13. #13

    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    We do not know enough detail to advise you properly but if the area is 3 acres as per your initial post then you need a proper scheme of a main drain and laterals to feed into it if the whole area is wet. I would guess that a scheme was put in decades ago because as a walled garden it would have been an important amenity and would have merited a full blown drainage plan. I'll wager that the original scheme has all clogged up/de-generated/ or deteriorated in some other way.

    With the greatest of respect, if you are not conversant with land draiange then get someone in, i.e. a local professional drainage contractor, to advise you. Land drainage is part science, part experience. It's not just about shoving drains anywhere.
    Hi zaza. The walled garden was in place in the mid to late 19th century and I have confirmed that it is now completely useless. I won't be able to afford to get this done professionally and at the end of the day this is only a garden (albeit a large one) so I will have to tackle some or all of it myself.

    I do appreciate though that I will need some advice so I may just be up front with a contractor and ask him for his advice which I will willingly pay for. Digging holes etc though I can do myself.

    Thanks

  14. #14

    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironhead View Post
    What diameter pipes were initially installed? Was there weeping rock put in next to the pipe? What type of bed was installed (tree styled, rectangle blocks, etc.).

    As someone else has suggested, having a "pro" provide advice might be helpful - heck, you might even get a bunch of suggestions by asking for "estimates" from qualified contractors and asking a bunch of questions while they are there .
    Hi Ironhead.....I don't mind paying for advice so this may be the way to go. The pipes are circa 3 inches in diameter (old clay pipes in roughly 1 metre lengths) but no idea how they were laid since it was so long ago.

    D

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    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    Hi Ironhead.....I don't mind paying for advice so this may be the way to go. The pipes are circa 3 inches in diameter (old clay pipes in roughly 1 metre lengths) but no idea how they were laid since it was so long ago. D
    I have never seen clay land drain pipes 1 metre long. It rather defeats the object since the water got into clay land drain pipes where they butted up to each other. Is there any chance that you could show a photograph of them ?

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    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Have you got a theodolite for measuring your levels? Getting the lay right is essential to avoid wet spots. Just digging holes is really open to error. This is one job where it can really pay to get an experienced person to do it.

    If you can do the levels - the hire of a small digger and being able to spare the time to get the job done are your main ingredients. However you may be battling the weather now if you are not careful. Good luck.

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    Re: Boggy / Soggy land

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    Thanks exFarmer.....hopefully Jack will stop by and comment.

    100mm is significantly cheaper than 160mm and I reckon I will need about 750m

    D
    On that sort of area 100mm pipes would be amply big enough, if you are putting laterals in, 75 mm would be big enough.

    One thing though if you are putting them in yourself, I would strongly advise some gravel backfill, hide a multitude of sins.
    If you start with your digger at the lowest point, ie outfall and work backwards, if it is so wet you will be able to see the levels from water seepage.
    Jack Caley

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