Design Guide for Barefoot Parks

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Natural ground


  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.  
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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.

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holzschnitzel.jpg (85533 Byte)

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  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. nienh_wurzelweg.jpg (44014 Byte)
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. herbert001.jpg (87903 Byte)
Lawn ways Paths on meadows should be mowed several times during spring and summer. This will result in a smooth lawn. loh_wiesenweg.jpg (40988 Byte) grasweg.jpg (56315 Byte)
  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.
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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. steilstrecke.jpg (125103 Byte)

weissbach_seil.jpg (58274 Byte) seilbefestigung.jpg (42320 Byte)

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