There are approximately three miles of drives leading into Staunton Harold, and all but a short section fall to be maintained by the Staunton Estate. The two main drives by which traffic comes to us are known as the Coach Road and the Heathend Drive.
Fifty years ago these were just gravel drives but at different times they’ve been tarmaced to take the increased traffic which uses them. To improve the wearing surface, and make them more attractive in the countryside, we treat them with a process known as ‘tar-spray and chip’. This involves pouring a tar-based emulsion onto the tarmac and covering it with fine pebbles, known as pea gravel.
The Heathend Drive is a two way road which takes all the heavy traffic. The Coach Road is one-way, for cars only, with a height restricter. I’ve heard it said that one heavy lorry does more damage than a thousand cars, so you’d expect the Heathend Drive to need more repairs. But tarmac has another enemy – water. And because the Coach Road runs under a tunnel of trees it gets the drip from above, without the sunlight to dry it out.
It is twelve years since we repaired and treated the Coach Road, and last year I had our friend Geoff Whitlock price for resurfacing as far as the sharp turn we call White Gate Corner. Coming in at about £13000 I decided it could wait a bit longer, but this long wet winter has taken its toll; we will have to bite the bullet this summer. The small weekend charges in our car park are levied to help with these costs; dodging potholes doesn’t make a good first impression.