Boardwalk Construction

Our most popular product is a 1.2m wide wooden boardwalk comprising of 3m straight or curved modular sections. The design can incorporate platforms, passing places and handrails as required.  We can use English hardwood but most commonly use European Larch for the construction of our raised boardwalks, sourced from sustainable forests in southern England. The natural brown colouration of the European larch is perfect for helping a boardwalk to blend into its surroundings increasing the sense of natural flow across the landscape. The timber is suitably treated to provide a durable structure compliant with EN 599 expectations, as long as maintenance guidelines are followed.

Intelligent Design for Durable Installations

raised wooden boardwalk to elevated bird hide Emberton Country Park
A raised boardwalk with handrails leading to a bird hide.

Boardwalk construction involves a succession of pairs of timber piles spaced 1.5m apart, giving a large space beneath the boardwalk for the free flow of flood waters. Timber beams are bolted using galvanised steel coach screws and concealed steel plates are fitted beneath the boardwalk where reinforcement is necessary for bridges and platforms. 

We use deep pile-driving equipment and laser levels to construct a robust sub-structure to support the boardwalk. Our unique design covers the treated pile ends with the beams so minimising water penetration into the pile ends (the cause of rot in many boardwalks).  Our design does not rely on the shear strength of bolts or timber slots, which can be a mistake made by many traditional boardwalk installations. Instead we allow gravity to assist in the strength and durability of our design by laying the beam on square cut pile ends and laying the bearers across the bearing surface of the beams.  

We increase surface area contact with our ground brace, so offering several layers of rigidity while maintaining our modular construction system allowing individual elements to be replaced in future years in the event of a failure caused by a tree fall or similar incident.  We bridge any existing land drains and, where an extended timber span is required, we will strengthen our timber bearers with galvanised steel plates hidden in the substructure of our boardwalk.

A Greenspace Design’s boardwalk allows for the free flow of any water beneath its  sub-structure, for this reason our designs have been approved by the Environment Agency for boardwalks on flood plains.  We will provide guidelines for inspection and maintenance once the boardwalk has been completed.  Provided these guidelines are followed we would be happy to agree a guarantee for our boardwalk. 

Load Bearing Specification

We have had our boardwalk timbers independently tested by an engineering firm, our timber treads can withstand forces in excess of 1000 kN per square metre.  This means that each timber tread on our boardwalk can cope with a weight in excess of 1 tonne, this is significantly in excess of the force exerted by an escaped bullock or Tramper vehicles. 

Access For All

Level Surface

We ensure that the boardwalk runs level across a site, the ground height might vary, but the deck itself will be level left to right and provide a constant gentle gradient in the direction of travel thereby giving a smooth, easy passage for wheelchairs, prams and the less able. Any undulations in the ground or changes in level will be taken up with a variable height of sub-structure, the whole time, ensuring that the boardwalk is a sensible distance above ground level. We use laser and spirit levels between sets of piles to ensure that no matter what ground conditions are like our finished boardwalk is a level, smooth route through the habitat.

Space to Move

Our standard 1.2metre width boardwalk allows plenty of space for manoeuvre for all visitors. We can also incorporate as many passing places and rest benches as required. As standard the Greenspace Design boardwalks have a one or two inch high toe board or kick rail to provide a wheel stop for prams and wheelchairs. Combined with range of handrail options and a ‘zebra pattern’ non-slip surface made from recycled car tyre crumb, the boardwalks offer safe access for all abilities.

Link to existing paths

We are experienced at joining boardwalks to existing hoggin and gravel path systems by hand digging the timbers at the start of each section of boardwalk.  This creates a smooth transition for visitors travelling from the existing footpath surface up a gentle ramp on to the boardwalk level with no steps or gaps to worry wheelchairs or pushchairs.

carpenter using laser level to install boardwalk piles
Cross-cutting pile tops to a laser levelled line to give a level boardwalk surface.
lady walking Labrador over wooden boardwalk in Slapton Ley Devon
Elevated boardwalk with passing place across marshes at Slapton Ley, South Devon.
Sloping boardwalk with passing place
A 1:12 ramp with seated passing places allowing visitors of all abilities up a 4m high bank.
Lady carrying a child on a boardwalk connecting to a path
Boardwalk end is blended into the height of the adjacent path with no gaps or steps to negotiate.

Non-Slip Tread

To ensure safety underfoot in all weathers, we provide a non-slip surface in a black ‘zebra pattern’ made using recycled car tyre crumb fixed to the timber with an industrial adhesive. As an optional extra, our durable rubber crumb non-slip surface can be used to create text and images on boardwalk surfaces. Previously we have created engaging artwork showing local wildlife to provide an extra level of visitor interaction.

Boardwalk with non-slip tread and handrail
Rubber crumb non-slip tread pattern.
Image of a tadpole on decking
Tadpole detail in non-slip tread.
image of frog on decking
Frog detail in non-slip tread.

Customised Handrails

A range of handrails can be installed to fit either our boardwalks or to pre-existing bridges and boardwalks. These can either be traditional plain box rails, or for added interest we can engrave wildlife, poetry or local history images onto the handrails. Carvings of the local views or wildlife are a popular option for the wider plank style handrails.  An interpretive carved handrail can bring an extra tactile dimension to a visitor’s experience for an added level of engagement with your local green space. Any artwork can be added to the handrails, from children’s drawings to company logos or lines of poetry. Click here to see more information on our artwork and etching capabilities.

In the past we have provided directional information, interpreted life cycles, food chains, animal footprints and other ecological concepts using this unique medium. Boardwalks can form a unique part of an interactive visitor trail.

If you have an existing boardwalk or bridge we can construct our handrail sections to fit securely to the existing structure. The natural ‘waney’ edge of our carved panels can help to soften “engineered” walkways and provide secure barriers for aerial walkways or bridges.

custom engraved hand rail
Hand rail carved with wildlife view
wooden handrail with child's writing carved into it