TERRAINS FOR BOULES IN PUBLIC AREAS
The size of the terrain should be no less than 12 metres long and 6 metres wide. This will allow two games to be played at the same time. A larger area – 15m x 15m – is more appropriate, as it allows a small tournament to be played, and allows play in two directions. Making the terrain longer than 15m is a waste of space, but making them wider allows more pistes to be added.
The final surface should be hard, with a thin sprinkling of loose grit. The tendency is to make the terrain too soft, so that the boules either sink or damage the surface easily. A new terrain should be allowed to settle before being played on. Lots of heavy rain helps settle the terrain.
It is essential to strip off topsoil, otherwise the boules will bounce on the surface. The surface need not be flat. A tree or a boulder in the middle of the terrain is not a problem.
Sinking the terrain should be no more than 150mm – excessive sinking poses a danger to the public. A border of timber helps stop the boules from going outside the terrain. Concrete borders can become cracked and chipped.
The process of building a piste should follow these guidelines:
Excavate to remove topsoil. The minimum depth of excavation should be 150mm.
If the depth of excavation exceeds 150mm then what is below 150mm should be made up with broken stone (Clause 616 or four-inch stone) compacted with a roller or compactor.
Lay 75mm of Clause 804 (this is a graded stone, graded from 25mm down to sand). This 804 needs to be compacted. As it is compacted it will become dense and hard. However, when boules land on it the surface will break up, so we need to seal the surface to protect it.
There are various means of sealing the 804 surface. But it is essential that the sealant is thin. 1mm to 2mm of brown clay sprinkled evenly, rolled and watered in, would be ideal. Alternatively a 1mm to 2mm layer of minus an eight (this is a graded material that varies from 3mm to dust. Like the 804 it is capable of being compacted into a hard surface). Whatever the sealer either water it in or leave it until it had rained and dried.
After wetting, drying and resting our surface is ready for the final grit layer. Lay small chippings (not sand and not graded – one size). The depth of the chippings should be no more than 10mm, but 6mm depth is ideal. Limestone chippings will not allow moss to grow. Gravel, or rounded pebbles are better than broken stone, because boules hitting broken stone can behave erratically, but sourcing rounded pebbles is not easy. The simplest specification for the chippings is 6mm limestone chippings. The chippings can be deposited in heaps and then loosely raked out. The chippings should not be rolled.