Plans for all weather Trim Trail at Holland Sports, Mill Lane, Oxted

Our Aims

This project is seeking to build a discrete but functional Trim Trail path around the perimeter of Mill Lane Recreation Ground, Hurst Green, RH8 9DF. Creating a clean, all-weather and shock absorbent track with a minimum width of 1.5 metres and a total length of 828 metres. Joining together the car park, the children's football pitches, an exit path to a country walk, continuing through less visited areas of the park, around to the outdoor gym area; past the entrance to the running track and then back to the car park.

We aim to greatly improve the accessibility and use of the fields for the community, specifically for the very young, old and disabled. Especially between October – March when every year a large reduction in public use is identified as the site becomes very wet, boggy and muddy, prohibiting access, especially for prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs and the elderly.

This project will also aim to greatly reduce the number of inactive adults in our community. We have designed the Trim Trail path to combine with the Outdoor Gym to offer a circuit. These facilities will be at the heart of a new Keep-fit club which we intend to start in 2018; offering free advice and exercise sessions per week to unfit/inactive adults, elderly or disabled persons.

HSSA aim to increase the numbers of young cyclists at Mill Lane Recreation Ground in the October – March months and to greatly improve their access throughout the year.

Finally, HSSA aim to work with our affiliated athletics club, Holland Sports Athletics Club (HSAC), to increase the numbers of cross country runners in their girls teams and adult team; as well as to continue building on the success of their boys teams.

The need for our project

HSSA have identified a great reduction in the park's use during the autumn, winter and spring months. Each year the ground becomes water logged and quickly develops large boggy and muddy areas. Often the grass on the west and south sides of the park is difficult to walk on, cycle on or use for sport. During these months the perimeter of the park is avoided by most people, especially by the elderly, disabled and any young families with prams and pushchairs. Unfortunately the water saturation in the park can be attributed to the River Eden along the west edge, as well as the Mill Pond to the south; neither of which ever flood. HSSA believe that an all-weather, durable Trim Trail will offer a flat, dry and non-slip path for the public to walk the park on. We have consulted with a local Tandridge firm, Eezeegrip Surfacing Ltd. who specialize in such paths. We have designed the path to take advantage of the existing park layout and above all to protect the existing flora, grass spaces and trees. This project has the full backing of Tandridge District Council, including Steve Hyder (Parks & Countryside Department) and P.W. Mason (Towns & Planning Department). On 23 January 2017 HSSA were granted planning permission for this project (TA/2016/1762).

Encourage Keep-Fit For The Inactive: HSSA have identified that often the running track and the Athletics Club are quite daunting for many unfit adults, elderly or disabled persons. We believe that very few overweight or inactive members of the public would venture through the track’s gates, even though fun events and local promotions regularly take place. We believe the Trim Trail will offer an alternative and inviting solution for these persons, whereby they can relax and exercise in a park environment.We have discussed this need with our local Oxted Parish Council, gaining their support and a significant amount of funding. HSSA and the Oxted Parish Council believe the Outdoor Gym is being under utilisied, especially during the autumn and winter months. Therefore, the need for a free, regular and enthusiastic keep-fit club has arose, with the aim to attract and recruit a wide range of members of the community who would otherwise not participate in stretching, aerobic activity or strength exercise as suggested by the NHS via their “Live Well” series of advice.

Introduce Cross Country Training: In association with HSSA is the well run Holland Sports Athletics Club which is a highly dedicated organisation, providing track/field training facilities and coaching to children, teenagers and adults. The Club has trained over 2000 local athletes of all abilities. The club has identified the need to improve their cross country training facilities and to build up a team of endurance runners, especially girls and women. The cross country season is between September to March when the weather is at its worst and the park is at its most soggy. Currently the club train on their running track, similar to the athletics season, but struggle to vary their training to cater for the tougher cross country season. For the last two winters they have held training sessions on the hilly streets of Oxted, parents marshal these sessions, however, this is not ideal. HSSA have identified that the 828 meters Trim Trail will offer a safe, varied running surface for the athletes to train on. The path will offer varied course to navigate around, it will encourage each runner’s personal development and engender a tougher team spirit.

Bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities

In the last 12 months HSSA believe 600 people have visited the Mill Lane Recreation Ground, predominantly during the April – September months. Not all of these visitors have been active. However, we believe that with the Trim Trail, the new keep-fit club and our marketing campaign that we can raise this number to +1200 persons in the 12 months following the completion of this project.

Moreover that a far greater percentage of these persons will take the opportunity to participate in physical activity during their visits, as described below:

  • People with Long Term health conditions – The safe, secure surface and all year round use will appeal to those with long term health problems in terms of following healthy routines. Our new Keep Fit Club will instil muscular stretches, movement and exercise. The facility can be used to varying extents depending on the persons need, it will be close to car park for access and also be close to benches to sit and opportunities for shelter.
  • Older People/people with disabilities – The sporting environment and rural scenery close to the Trim Trail will unlock many interesting places for people with disabilities who may enjoy being, working and socializing outdoors. HSSA have a good relationship with Moor House School which is next door, this is a special school for children with severe speech and language impairments, whom we will invite to use the Trim Trail and facilities.
  • For all under-represented groups, including young cyclists and families with pushchairs/prams, the Trim Trail will act as a gateway to other attractions by creating interesting routes through Mill Lane Recreation Ground, allowing possible discovery of rural fields and other attractions such as the River Eden and the Coltsford Mill.
  • Athletes – The attraction, retention and development of both coaches and athletes from primary school to adults at Holland Sports Athletics Club will be helped by the addition of the Trim Trail. The club is working hard of retain the membership of its teenage girls and women by offering varied training and consistent sporting challenges. The athletics club plan to establish and flourish their Cross County teams in the years to come.

Want to find out more?

Heading up this plan is Stuart Brown.

Contact him for more info at stuart_J_brown@live.co.uk