Design Guide for Barefoot Parks
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|Paths on natural ground form the backbone of a barefoot park. Between some stations devoted to challenging experience, most of the walk should help the feet recreate on a soft natural ground.|
|Forest soil||Walking on soft forest
soil is pleasant for the feet. In early spring, sharp-edged branch pieces, saplings,
blackberry tendrils etc. should be removed at a width of 1 m (one yard). Visitors
should not be hurt by thorns -- and, to avoid tick bites -- not contact scrub.
Thousands of visitors will compress the soil, even if they walk barefoot. If a high frequency of visitors is expected, the trail can be prepared by applying a 10 cm (4 inch) layer of wood chips (use the finest grade available), which is covered by bark mulch. This combination of materials feels like natural forest soil, but lasts longer. Wood chips are also useful to compact muddy passages.
Without a covering of mulch (alternatively sawdust
or foliage), the wood chips would be too sharp-edged for comfortable barefooting,
especially once dried at sunny locations. Within some years these materials will decompose
and have to be renewed.
|Some thick roots on the way may also be fun, but for a longer barefoot walk, a root-entangled path is not a comfortable ground.|
|Sandy ways||Trails on sandy soil form easy-care sections of a barefoot walk. Leveled gravel may be covered with a thin layer of sand and thus become foot-friendly.|
|Lawn ways||Paths on meadows should be mowed several times during spring and summer. This will result in a smooth lawn.|
|Ideally a grassy
barefoot walk takes course along a row of trees or an edge of a wood. Shade during part of
the day reduces flowering of white clover and thus the risk of bee stings.
|Uphill sections||A rope with knots or loops facilitates steep uphill sections. It requires a strong and reliable connection, which has to be examined regularly.|
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