Design Guide for Barefoot Parks

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Design of sensation paths


  Typically, a barefoot park allows the visitors to walk on a wide variety of materials. To prevent materials from spreading, most need to be bordered. It is also important to prevent foot strain caused by too many hard and coarse textures like wood chips or gravel stones!
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Paths with sand and mulch Sand or bark mulch are ideal materials for convenient barefooting. Therefore they can be used for longer sections. As far as some dislocation of these materials in the walking direction is tolerable, bordering may not be needed.

Other materials like pebbles, fir cones, etc. are better placed in a frame.

dornst_sand.jpg (52684 Byte)
Embedded sensory sections Sensory beds surrounded by lawn should be made even with the ground to facilitate cutting the grass. Even arrangement is also recommended in skiing areas where snowcats or snowmobiles may operate during winter.

To fit the materials, the upper layer of earth has to be removed and a permeable but durabke weed-inhibitor cloth material is inlaid before placing the materials. Optionally, a wooden frame may fix the contour.

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maikammer_kiesel.jpg (90859 Byte)
Bordered by stone A border of curbstones is more expensive but offers a long-lasting solution. steinrahmen1.jpg (146282 Byte)
  In combination with colored pavement a really elegant design for residential areas can be implemented. buseck_edelsplitt2.jpg (81169 Byte) buseck_rindenmulch.jpg (63844 Byte)
Wooden frames Frames of wooden beams are well-suited for forest areas. holzrahmen_mulch.jpg (59053 Byte) dudenh_strecke.jpg (105735 Byte)
  Handrails are not essential but may help barefoot novices to keep track on rough materials. hausen_zapfen.jpg (73791 Byte)
Parallel track for tenderfeet Longer stretches of rough materials may be complemented with a  parallel track of sand or soft mulch. Visitors have the choice to cross over, before pain begins..... gutach_holzschnitzel.jpg (97033 Byte) gutach_riesel_sand.jpg (89964 Byte)
  A wooden walk gives the chance to sidestep challenges like a stony streambed or a wobbly chain walk. bach_holzsteg.jpg (90428 Byte) ketten_holzsteg.jpg (97844 Byte)
Catwalks All kinds of wooden surface can be placed above ground. pz_ochsenklavier.jpg (80464 Byte)
How to avoid mixing of materials Materials like sand, fine gravel or chippings, shavings, mulch and especially mud may be picked up on feet and mixed in accidently with other materials further down the path. It is therefore recommended to separate these substrates by stretches of natural ground, by solid materials, or by balancing stations. hausen_kies.jpg (88329 Byte) spalt_fuehl1.jpg (63498 Byte)
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Optionally a foot scraper section can be placed at the end of the sensation bed. This is especially recommended for glass chippings.
spalt_glas.jpg (69687 Byte)
Sensation path for wheelchair users This alignment makes the barefoot park interesting for wheelchair users and allows them to feel the different materials with their hands. dannenw_fuehlen.jpg (92151 Byte)
Blind walk with handrail A loop with 8 - 10 different soil materials and a continuous handrail on the inner side allows for feeling the ground with closed eyes.

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Following the rope A rope is spanned between poles and helps the blindfolded barefooter to keep on the track over a variety of materials and even through flowing water.

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creg_fuehlpfad3.jpg (86858 Byte)

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