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Information Sheet: Information sheet 06

Infrastructure, access and facilities


When planning a recreation or leisure facility it is important to consider the most basic costs associated with preparing the site to accommodate a facility. These works relate to the provision of water, electricity, telephone, landscape and drainage in addition to vehicular and pedestrian access.

Key issues

  • Vehicular access is often an essential consideration that may be constrained by the woodland setting, consult your local highways authority
  • Services may not be readily available in the woodland environment. The costs of bringing in services and the impact on the woodland in relation to BS387 (trees in relation to construction) must be considered
  • Infrastructure requirements are project specific


Vehicular access

Much will depend upon the distance of the site from an adopted public highway and the ground conditions. If the woodland is located some distance from the highway and would involve an access using an established farm track or even a new route round field headlands, it is likely to add considerably to the cost of bringing a facility forward. The number of cars that the activity is likely to attract must be considered in relation to the

infrastructure provided. As the number of visitors increases so will the number of cars.

For large projects a Green Travel Plan could be provided and incentives to encourage visitors to use more sustainable modes of transport should be considered.

The following issues relate to a wide range of projects and it may not be necessary to consider all issues for every project:

  • Ground drainage
  • Any gradients, both up and down (Disability and Discrimination Act, 1995)
  • Seasonal use
  • Access to and from the highway. If access can only be provided along country lanes there must be adequate visibility. This requirement is likely to be higher from a road carrying more traffic. The County Council Highways Planning Department will provide guidance and it may be necessary to consult a Highways/Traffic Consultant.
  • The provision of soakaways and piped drainage systems may be better but it is usually preferable and cheaper to use the natural porosity of the ground and provide a camber on the access road to assist run-off. Sustainable drainage is a concept that includes long term environmental and social factors in decisions about drainage. It takes account of the quantity and quality of runoff, and the amenity value of surface water in the urban environment. Many existing urban drainage systems can cause problems of flooding, pollution or damage to the environment and are not proving to be sustainable. The Environment Agency can provide further information.
  • It may be possible to use Terram or other similar geotextiles to provide some more cost effective base for the road, rather than importing hard core, this is dependant on the extent of the use and on the number of vehicles.
  • Pedestrian, cycle and horse access may be necessary. Consider who will use your site and what access they will require.
  • Public transport – if the proposal is likely to draw significant numbers of people it would be worth making contact with local bus companies
  • Signposting – this will be required for road safety reasons and can also be costly. In addition it may be appropriate to consult the Tourist Board to gain advice on brown tourist attraction signs


  • Water - either piped from the nearest main or sourced from a Bore Hole – this will require early consultation with the Environment Agency because there are many restrictions on sinking new bore holes in the Eastern Region.
  • Electricity – preferably an underground supply rather than overland for amenity reasons but this can be costly. Consider renewable energy utilising a wind turbine.
  • Heating – consider renewable energy, e.g. wood fuel, heat pumps and/or solar if use of the site is mainly during the spring, summer and autumn months.
  • Foul drainage – carry out initial consultations with building services department at the district council and/or Environment Agency to ensure that the costs of installation can be included in the design costs. It is almost certain that public lavatories will require a sealed, pumped drainage system. Reed bed systems should also be considered.

Building Materials

  • Sustainable construction and drainage e.g. high insulation from renewable sources (wool, paper or hemp insulation)
  • The use of solar gain materials – recycled materials
  • Use of renewable energy where possible (solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass)
  • Local timber and stone to reflect the context of any buildings and structures
  • The local vernacular using local design documents.

contact information


Local Authorities: Click here

The Environment Agency: 

Local public transport providers: Click here


Links to the public utility regulators: Click here