BSUK announces dirt suppliers for British baseball and softball

Fri 25 Nov 2016

BaseballSoftballUK is pleased to announce that after significant research, testing and negotiation, there are now two suppliers ready and able to service the needs of British baseball and softball. Based in the United Kingdom and using UK-sourced materials for the mixes, the suppliers are Castle Clay and Boughton Loam. Arrangements are in place to provide infield mix, top dressing and warning track material.

Baseball and softball dirt mixes are available in North America and in some places in Europe, but a domestic supply of appropriate materials has eluded British clubs for some time, until now.

“This news is a significant step forward in our development of facilities,” said BSUK National Development Manager, Will Lintern. “The supply means that clubs or leagues with facilities will be able to improve, renovate or top up their playing surface.”

 Below we will explain the process for ordering, purchasing and delivering your new dirt.

Historical context

The development of baseball and softball facilities in the UK has become a priority of BaseballSoftballUK for a number of years. In 2011, the Baseball and Softball Facilities Strategy 2011-17 was published following extensive consultation with the playing community. The Strategy identified a number of key facility projects and set off a chain of actions that required the securing of a supply of dirt from within the UK.

“Up to this point, a number of make-shift solutions to dirt supply that included using redgra and some sand and stone mixes had been used, but after review it was determined that we needed a supply of materials that met the standards set elsewhere,” said Lintern.

Diagram of soil texture pyramid

Process

There followed a process to identify and then secure the right blend of sand, clay and silt and for these components to be milled to the right size to aid with binding and drainage. A mix was identified, sourced and tested then laid for the original three fields built at Farnham Park and the field at Conniburrow in Milton Keynes. This mix matched the specifications needed, worked with the British climate and performed well.

However, soon after the fields were completed, the supplier ceased producing the raw materials for this mix due to the increased demand for clay bricks in the building industry, and the process for identifying alternative suppliers began.

Between facilities consultants, clubs from our own community and speaking to several contractors and suppliers BSUK eventually identified two companies that could both source and mix the materials to our specification.

The recently completed Phase 2 at Farnham Park has been constructed using the clay mix from Castle Clay and the brick dust from Boughton Loam. The large scale of this project has enabled BSUK to establish both the relationship with the suppliers and pricing made available to the clubs.

“It was critical to us that the suppliers would be able to not only provide the dirt needed for Farnham Park and other facilities projects, including the Northern Facilities Project, but also that they would be able to supply our clubs and leagues,” added Lintern.

View of new baseball field at Farnham Park
View of new baseball field at Farnham Park (from centre field)

Supply details

Both Castle Clay and Boughton Loam are able to supply approved mixes. Although the mixes differ slightly, they have both been tested by BSUK and are deemed to be appropriate. There are two types of material on offer – an infield clay brick dust mix and a pure brick dust. The clay mix is suitable for infield aprons, cut-outs, home plate area and mounds. The pure brick dust is suitable for warning tracks and as a final top dressing for fields or to mix in with existing dirt where it has become too compact or too high clay percentage.

Below are further details on what’s available, including indicative prices of supply. Please note that due to the limitations of mixing and delivery, minimum orders apply and cost of delivery will vary depending on location. These will be confirmed at the point of ordering.

Orders can be supplied in bulk, which means delivered loose in a lorry, or in one tonne bags, although this varies between the suppliers. Ordering in bulk is cheaper than buying in bags and there are minimum quantities that apply.

Prices shown are per tonne and exclusive of VAT. Delivery charges will apply and vary with quantity so we have shown indicative amounts based on a delivery to Farnham Park (South Buckinghamshire, SL2 3BP) from the different supply locations. 

Please note these prices may vary. 

Supplier Brick dust (bulk) Brick dust (one tonne bag) Clay mix (bulk) Clay mix (one tonne bag)
Suitable for: Warning tracks
Top dressing
Warning tracks
Top dressing
Infields
Home plate
Mounds and pitching areas*
Infields
Home plate
Mounds and pitching areas*
Castle Clay Min. order 20t
£55 per tonne
£70 inc. delivery
Min. order 3t
£70 ex. delivery
£125 inc. delivery
Min. order 20t
£55 per tonne
£70 inc. delivery
Min. order 3t
£70 per tonne
£125 inc. delivery
Boughton Loam Min. order 20t
£20 per tonne
£31.50 inc. delivery from PE1
Not available Min. order 29t
£69.19 per tonne
£80.69 inc. delivery from NN16
Not available

* See note below on the best approach for hard-wearing areas of the field, such as batters boxes and pitchers landing areas.

If your club needs a smaller amount than the minimum order, we suggest working with other nearby baseball or softball clubs to procure a shipment that can be shared between you. BSUK can help facilitate these discussions between clubs and leagues.

View of new softball field at Farnham Park
View of new softball field at Farnham Park (from centre field)

Hard impact areas

For the construction of hard impact areas such as the pitcher’s mound and batter’s boxes it is typically advised that you use unfired clay bricks to the give the correct consistency and firmness. However, we found that the clay content in the infield mix is sufficient to use for even the high impact areas, so long as you do the following:

  • Install it correctly using the right amount of moisture and packing equipment
  • Avoid contamination with other materials (top dressing, grass, sand etc.) where possible
  • Maintain after every use by sweeping away dust and replacing with new materials

Next steps

BaseballSoftballUK has put into place arrangements that make it as easy as possible for you to order. All that is required of you is:

  1. To calculate the amount of materials you need, broken down into brick dust and clay mix.
  2. Contact the appropriate supplier to finalise order details and cost.

If you would like advice on the amount required, please contact BSUK (details below) for assistance.

Contact Details

Castle Clay - 01782 575555

Boughton Loam - 01536 510515

BSUK Assistance

BSUK staff can help with:

  • Calculating the amount of dirt you require for your project
  • Maintenance advice, including running a facilities maintenance workshop

BSUK also offers a project development support service, providing technical specifications advice, supplier information and design mock-ups. We recommend that that you contact BSUK at the start of a facility development project to discuss this.

Assistance can be requested by either:

  • Speaking to your club Point Person
  • Emailing our .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 
  • Calling the BSUK Head Office on 020 7453 7055

Field mock up provided to the Hull Scorpions by BSUK
Field mock up provided to the Hull Scorpions by BSUK

Mock-up of potential field orientation for Northern Facility
Mock-up of potential field orientation for Northern Facility (baseball combo far | softball/youth baseball near)

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