Preparation of the Olympic equestrian site at Greenwich Park began this month.

Groundwork started on 9 August and will focus on soil decompaction to stimulate grass growth and reduce the hardness of the ground, daily irrigation and mowing and fertilising to encourage quality grass growth.

“We have to turn a municipal park usually used for football and dog walking into an Olympic sports surface,” said Olympic eventing manager Alec Lochore.

“Not many events are run in parks in the UK, but the Adelaide three-day event is in a city, so it’s not unique.”

The course route has been marked out using artificial tuft markers, but there will be no major earth movement works.

“We have used the ground [conditions] at Burghley as our benchmark and are aiming to make the Olympic site as good as that,” said Mr Lochore.

A spokesman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) confirmed: “Greenwich Park will remain open and fully accessible to the public while work takes place.”

The test event takes place next July. The Olympic cross-country fences are being built off-site and will be installed nearer July 2012.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (26 August, ’10)