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< prev - next > Transport and infrastructure Road building KnO 100387_Improving paths and tracks 2 (Printable PDF)
Improving paths & tracks: Part 2
Practical Action
‘Turnpike section’, in which the path or track is built, usually as a small raised
embankment, using local soil or imported soil or gravel.
Stepping stones
Stepping stones are a simple method of improving a path that has to cut across wet ground.
Flat stones laid on the ground are not suitable they tend to move when they are walked
upon or to sink into the wet soil. The stones used should be as large as possible and block-
or wedge-shaped. Each stone should be set firmly in the ground on a bed of small stones.
The top surface of the stones should be level with, or slightly above, the ground level, as
shown in Figure 1.
Variations on this method include a
‘rock box’ (see Figure 2) and a fully
stone-paved path. Both these
methods produce a surface which is
rough to walk on and difficult for
pack animals and carts. They are
not generally recommended,
although a ‘rock box’ covered with a
thin layer of soil or sand may be
appropriate for some very short
Figure 2: Rock box
In areas where suitable stones are
not available, an alternative is to
use sandbags filled with concrete,
as shown in Figure 3. The
method is to fill the sandbags
with dry aggregate and cement in
the proportions of about 4 to 1.
These are laid on the surface of
the path and gently tamped into
position. They are then watered
and allowed to set. If the ground
is naturally very wet, watering may
not be necessary. This forms a
solid causeway slightly above the
level of the surrounding ground.
Rafts, sometimes called
boardwalks or puncheon, are
made of timber. They form a
walkway which is raised above the
wet ground. Rafts are by nature
of light construction and for this
reason are better suited to areas
of waterlogged soil than true
marsh. There are a number of
different designs, but the one
shown in Figure 4 is one of the
most appropriate for rural areas.
Figure 3: Concrete sandbags
Sandbags filled with 1:4
cement/aggregate mixture