Driveways (draft)

GravelThere is very little mention of driveways in the CAMP. Many houses in the Triangle were built with driveways, some with garages either next to the house or further behind at the back of the the garden. The latter (known as “motor houses”) are generally earlier pre-first world war examples as they were built away from the house (for safety reasons) when it was necessary to store fuel due to the scarcity of petrol stations. They also have inspection pits as many owners did their own maintenance (this was before Quickfit and Mr Clutch).

Many of the driveways we see were later additions throughout the twentieth century as the motor car became more popular. In some cases it is possible to tell which drives are older, as entrances are narrower (smaller cars in those days) but there are exceptions.

Gravel and hoggin

We might assume that originally all drives were gravel or possibly hoggin (a compacted mixture of gravel, sand and clay). It is possible some were concrete or tarmac as both materials were available, however as the roads themselves were probably not hard surfaced at the time, this seems unlikely. (Needs verifying)

Hoggin is less common these days for driveway surfaces, although the subsoil in the Triangle is actually very similar being composed of stony clay. It can be problematic in that it is often not very permeable or porous, and can become muddy. In some cases gravel has been laid directly onto hoggin  or just natural subsoil, but without maintenance it can become impacted with dirt and weeds,  and so gradually takes on a hoggin-like appearance itself. Furthermore, some gravel drives we see may have started off as hoggin, but gradually had gravel added to the top as part of general maintenance. Modern driveway specialists will often use various membranes and/or sub bases to aid keep the integrity of the gravel surface.

There are some newly installed gravel driveways in the area, and  these are attractive alternatives to block paving although care should be taken to stop any spill on to the pavement. This is can be done with a slightly raised single course of bricks/pavers along the front of the drive, or by using a plastic or metal grid to confine the gravel.

pavingBlock paving

We do now see a proliferation of modern concrete block paviers which became popular in the late twentieth century. These are typically 100 x 200cm so can easily be laid in a variety patterns including the ubiquitous “herringbone.” Although these may be viewed as “alien” to the original development, they have become endemic. On the face of it a traditional conservationist may resist their use, it is more or less assumed that these would not be objected to these days – provided they are permeable, porous or with adequate drainage.

However we might argue that new or reclaimed clay pavers would be more appropriate. They have been round since Minoan times and are available at Romsey Reclamation. (The actual Minoan ones may cost a bit more)


All driveways seem to need maintenance, mainly due to weeds (especially in shaded areas where moss can proliferate). We would discourage the use of strong herbicides due to the high population of suburban wildlife, especially hedgehogs, in the area. Ideally moss and weeds can be dug or brushed out from between pavers. If you really must use weed or moss killers, then please use brands that are animal-safe.

Types of drive we see in the Triangle:

  • driveway chart

There have been 5 new drives since conservation status 2005: 2 on new builds (1 gravel, 1 paved), 3 on existing houses (paved).