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The benefits of rubber equestrian surfaces

Although woodchip has been used for a number of years as a traditional ménage surface, there is now a new generation of rubber surfacing materials available on the market. Rubber equestrian chippings will not need topping up on a regular basis, saving the user both time and money throughout the life of the arena. Although the initial costs may be slightly higher than traditional wood-chip, huge savings can be made due to the minimal level of maintenance required by rubber chippings. The chippings will need occasional raking over and picking through, to ensure the surface is kept clean. However, the chippings are generally self-levelling and tend to look after themselves.


Equestrian rubber chippings are derived from tyres which are processed into individual chippings which are up to 20mm in size and treated to remove 99.99% of any wire. Equestrian rubber chippings are suitable for riding arenas, gallops, lunge rings, turnout pens and horse walkers. They can be laid as a top layer onto an existing arena or as a new surface on a completely new arena.



Another benefit of using a rubber surface over the more tradition sand or woodchip is that it is frost resistant so the arena can be used continually throughout the year. The rubber is also free-draining and wind-resistant, creating a protective covering which prevents the sand below from drying out. For this reason, a rubber surface is recommended in exposed areas where sand surfaces are prone to drying out and can become displaced by prevailing winds. The rubber also provides a soft, cushioning and non-slip surface that is safe for both the horse and the rider. This minimizes the risk of leg injury during schooling, even in frosty conditions.


We would normally recommend laying a 50mm thickness of rubber chippings onto a 100mm base layer of good quality silica sand. To cover a standard 20m x 40m arena with a 50mm depth of rubber chippings, you will need approximately 18-20 tonnes of rubber. This is normally delivered loose in an articulated lorry. However, we can arrange for smaller, 8-wheel lorries to make deliveries upon request. Therefore, it is always important to check the access and turning circle available at your particular site. We would also recommend that a 38mm x 100mm wide retaining board is attached to the fencing around the perimeter of the arena, 300mm above the surface to prevent it from being displaced and kicked out of the arena during periods heavy use. A fibre additive can also be mixed into the silica sand prior to the rubber being laid on top. These fibre additives act as a stabilising material, preventing the rubber from mixing in with the silica sand below.


Equestrian rubber chippings are a safe, affordable and eco-friendly alternative that will provide you with many years of use. They also give a second life to used tyres which would traditionally have been sent to land-fill.

Safe Play Areas For Kids

The importance of safe playing surfaces for children

A safe & suitable playground surface is one of the most important factors in reducing injuries that can occur from accidents in the playground. The surface both underneath and around the playground equipment (within the manufacturer’s specified fall-space) should be free of standing water & debris and impact absorbing enough to soften any trips or falls.


Although grass is commonly used as a basic surface for low-level equipment, it is worth bearing in mind that this type of surface becomes unsafe as soon as the grass starts to wear & thin. The underlying soil can also become compacted through high use and certain weather conditions can add to this problem. In these instances, in dry conditions a soil/grass surface can become baked as hard as concrete.

Another reason for not using a grass surface is that loose-fill surfaces (such as wood chips, sand, pea gravel, or rubber chips) disperse quickly on impact, absorbing energy from any high impact falls such as from a cableway or swing. This helps to prevent long bone fractures which are commonly caused by playground falls. Loose-fill surfaces also add play value in their own right, adding to the overall sensory experience for the child. By using materials such as sand, gravel & wood-chip etc., you open up the opportunity for children to use this type of play surface as a part of their activities. By being able to move, transport and create shapes with the play surfacing material, children are more able to play using their imaginations. Loose-fill surfaces also encourage children to explore the effect of gravity & movement which helps them to learn through play.


In this electronic age, it is a sad fact that there are an increasing number of children who are lacking in the very basic spatial awareness skills that can only be learnt through outdoor play. By using a suitable play surfacing material to the recommended depth, you can create a safe environment in which children can learn how to balance, swing, jump, spin, climb, bounce and more importantly play safely.

With the recent development in new production methods, rubber chippings are now available in a variety of vibrant colours that won’t rub or wash off. Unlike the first generation of coloured rubber chippings that came onto the market, UK Gravel only supply water-proof, colour-fast chippings that will not stain children’s clothes. If you are looking for a more natural play surface, specially selected grades of sand and woodchip are also available to give a more rustic feel to your garden.


All recognized play surfaces are tested to conform to BS EN 1177. This test provides the thickness required for each type of play surface up to a given fall-height. Your supplier should provide you with this information and advise you on the quantity you need for your play area (based on the specified fall area and free-fall height of the equipment). It is worth keeping in mind that even with the recommended play surfacing, you cannot prevent all injuries. What you can do though, by following these simple guidelines is to reduce the severity of any fall-related injuries.