Farwell’s Groundworks in the Heart of the New Forest
We have successfully completed a major project at Lime Wood Hotel set in the heart of the stunning New Forest National Park. The project required the construction of a subterranean, foul water pumping station, installing a 1.5 km rising main and a blown fibre duct.
Horizontal directional drilling techniques were employed to connect The Hotel to the mains sewer at Clay Hill passing through woodland known as The Pondhead Inclosure which is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
We carried out the project in close consultation with the Hotel, agencies and third parties including Forestry England, the Parish Council, Pondhead Conservation Trust, Natural England, Environment Agency, Hampshire County Council, the New Forest National Park Authority and Ineos.
We are grateful for co-operation from all concerned as it enabled us to work quickly and efficiently during the late Autumn of 2021.
The task was to develop techniques that would enable the work to be completed without risking damage to ancient lands, trees and foliage that would inevitably occur using traditional forms of excavation and pipe laying.
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The challenge on this project was to hone and refine these skills and expertise to enable a working sewer connection to be laid within the confines, regulations and planning constraints of the New Forest and SSSI protected area.
Careful consideration was taken of the planning conditions to ensure the safeguarding of trees and natural features which are important to the visual amenities of the area, to preserve the ecological integrity, the water environment and to safeguard protected species.
Environmental impact was minimised by employing horizontal drilling techniques to lay a subterranean tunnel of sufficient diameter to allow two continuous pipe conduits to be pulled through, one dedicated to the sewage drain and one for a fibre optic cable duct.
Due to the frictional losses incurred by pulling through the pipe conduits, the directional boreholes were made at sectional intervals of approximately 100m along an existing forest pathway. This necessitated the excavation of connection pits between each section. Excavated spoil had to be removed as work progressed posing a logistical challenge in manoeuvring excavators and dumper trucks between excavation points in support of heavy horizontal drilling machine.
Geological surveys were conducted along the trackway prior to undertaking excavation work. They highlighted that many areas contained sand strata that would complicate both excavations and tunnelling. To minimise the risk of ‘running sand’ dewatering techniques were used to drop the underground water table at each pit location. The dewatering process involved drilling vertical wells to depths of up to 8m to enable filtered drawdown tubes to lift water to surface using large pumps.
Addressing Environmental Concerns
Environmental concerns prohibited the dispersal of produced water into the natural woodland drainage. Consequently, a temporary pipeline was installed running along the side of the work pathway to divert produced water to a temporary, customised lagoon constructed outside of the Inclosure.
Throughout the project, all works were to be contained with the existing public walkway. Permissions were given to allow work within a 3.5m path width within the Pondhead Inclosure. Even this expanded path width posed seriously limitations on heavy machinery movements as two-way traffic or vehicle passing was not viable. Project planning therefore required close logistical attention. Pit excavations were scheduled to maximise drilling times without trapping either the drilling machine, or other excavation equipment between any two excavation points.
We finished the works in the Forest before Christmas 2021 and then paused until the Spring of 2022 when we geared up for the installation of the pumping station by the end of the summer.
Teamwork for Minimum Disruption
Our project team, the drilling company (HBTunnelling) and the suppliers of the pumping station (PDAS) worked tirelessly to carry out the works with the minimum of disruption to the Hotel, their guests and users of the Forest. Our Contracts manager, Paul Kilty led the Farwell team in liaison with the Hotel’s appointed agent Jim Peters of Such Salinger Peters.
The earthworks to the Inclosure have been reinstated to the highest standards for those to enjoy the pleasant walk from Beechen Lane to the Hotel. The photographs indicate that just a few months later it is difficult to find signs of the works having ever been carried out. Also, reinstatement of the Hotel grounds was completed to their highest expected standards.
Whilst the contractual arrangements between the company and Lime Wood had to be factored into a legal contract, the handshake between Lime Wood’s Managing Director, Kenneth Speirs and our Chairman, George Farwell to seal the deal meant everything for their mutual trust and respect for each other.
A Message From Our Chairman George
We are a New Forest company celebrating 70 years in business and we work hard to preserve the forest and its environment. From the glowing reports we have received for the project we appear to have achieved that at Lime Wood. We are proud to have undertaken the project for Lime Wood to extend their fibre-optic communications and rising main to Lyndhurst.George Farwell
George would like to offer his special thanks to those who have contributed to this publication whose words are very much appreciated by all concerned at Farwells.
Kenneth Speirs, Lime Wood Managing Director
A project that was so many years in the planning, at times felt unachievable, finally became a reality in October 2022. Only through the goodwill and cooperation between all the interested parties was this achieved. Special thanks go to Forestry England, Pondhead Conservation Trust, New Forest National Parks Planning, Natural England and The Environment Agency for their cooperation and understanding in allowing Farwells to bring this project to a reality. Project managed by Farwells’ Paul Kilty and design engineered by Jim Peters of Such Salinger Peters the works were carried out efficiently and effectively with a positive approach to problem solving. A big thank you to them and their team for all the efforts.Kenneth Speirs
Derek Tippetts, Trustee of the Pondhead Conservation Trust
Pondhead Conservation Trust is a small, award-winning conservation charity and community woodland project, who are restoring the woodland in Pondhead Inclosure, Lyndhurst. During the Limewood sewer project that was routed through the woodland, Farwells consulted with us regularly to ensure that any disruption to our conservation work was minimised and they ensured that everything was reinstated to a good standard on completion of the work.Derek Tippetts