In the Autumn (2015
& 2016) we
worked with Teignbridge DC concerning the future of croquet here as
the court will need to be improved if we are to start playing any
The area was
top-dressed with a sandy soil mix. Repeating this will gradually
improve the soil and drainage, but it won't deal with the greater
issue regarding the slope.
size of the court
playable area is approximately 33 yards E-W and 26 yards N-S. This
is just a little under the maximum standard croquet court of 35
yards X 28 yards (32m X 25.5m). This
is about the size of two tennis courts so it is quite a large area.
A small strip around that would be necessary but probably not more
than about 2 feet 600mm.
At present we have
the following issues:
- There is a
significant level drop to the NE corner. It looks as though there
may be a significant level difference to the NE corner of the
playing surface, enough to render long-term playing unviable
without major reconstruction;
- The grass is
thin in several areas. Can we achieve a
good covering of the fine grass necessary to play croquet
satisfactorily? At present the ground has much the same grass
that it has had for years and the usual fortnightly cutting has
not encouraged the finer grasses to grow.
- There is an
issue with drainage. If this area gets very wet
with rain it turns muddy, which raises a question about the whole area.
Perhaps this was why tennis may have been abandoned here.
- Second Court.
For the Club to play matches (20 games lasting up to 50
minutes) we need a second court.
The really good
- This is a superb
location. The park is well over-looked and there is an active
neighbourhood watch in the area.
There is a
pavilion nearby which is available for tea and refreshments; toilet facilities are also
- Parking. Parking is
available on-street alongside the park, although a small fee is
payable at certain times; there are some free spaces
on the park periphery too.
- Close to
transport. For future competitions the location is close to
the main road and train station with bus stops just a short walk
There is a population base of nearly a quarter of a million
people within easy reach of Forde Park.
We are delighted
that the Council has agreed to help us here and the Club hopes in time that
we will be able to develop a first class croquet lawn for many to
enjoy for a long time to come.
attractive appearance stands out.
It all takes time:
Looking around it
is apparent that other clubs have not been able to get a high
quality court going in a hurry. It can take a lot of work and funds
to provide an area that is level and smooth enough over a sufficient
area that is at least 35 yards X 28 yards.
One club that I
read about set to and levelled some ground and made a viable full
size court. A couple of years later they found that the drainage was
hopelessly inadequate and had to be improved so had to lift some of
the turf to install workable drainage. All this took time and money.
It is said that
there is no such thing as bad weather for croquet; only the wrong
clothes!! While there may be some truth in this we clearly have to
be careful with the ground as we know from experience that it can
become muddy very easily.
Some clubs are able
to operate in the winter with special conditions such as no
jump-shots which can be damaging to the turf.
This is not
possible in Forde Park so we typically fence the area off for the
winter and carryout minimal winter work to maintain the ground in