Lee Valley Canoeing Centre

Leca® LWA makes a splash at new canoeing facility in Hertfordshire

A new canoeing Centre was constructed on a 10 hectare site covering an area equivalent to 25 full-size football pitches; designed by leading architects and landscape designers it will be a lasting legacy as a major leisure attraction for the East of England region for many years to come. This centre is a world-class venue intended to host major and international canoe slalom events and was opened in Spring 2011. The centre offers a programme of whitewater rafting and canoeing for sports clubs, schools and athletes with a 300m long Olympic-standard competition course and a 160m intermediate course as a training ground for the next generation of elite canoeists. Substantial earth moving was required and this river basin area did not provide the most stable substrate. Where high embankments and walling were constructed, foundation and earthwork areas were reinforced with Tensar geotextile systems. This is where the technical qualities of Leca® LWA played a major part in this construction project. To minimise the weight loading on walling and abutments, some 484m³ of 10-20mm Leca® LWA was specified as the back-fill material. Leca® LWA is a lightweight expanded clay aggregate formed by heating and firing natural glacial clay in a rotary kiln at up to 1150°C. This process transforms the clay into lightweight ceramic granules that have a hard surface and porous core. The material is extremely light with a bulk density of a fraction of traditional fill material. Peter Goodwin, project engineer of Morrison Construction who built this magnificent facility, reported on the ease of handling the Leca® LWA. “The Leca® LWA was delivered in 35m3 loads each day which suited our capacity and overcame the need to store the material on site, and we placed it with a mechanical shovel. It is very easy and quick to compact, and very stable which is paramount in these ground conditions. Great to handle and a very useful material for giving strength to walling without excess weight- just the right combination for this man-made river project.”