Pitch Improvement Programme & Aeration Service

The FA Pitch Improvement Programme is a focused programme that aims to help organisations improve the quality of their natural turf (grass) football pitches.

Your organisation can get involved in the FA Pitch Improvement Programme. There are a number of operational models throughout the County in relation to how football pitches are managed and maintained, to maximise the potential of this programme, ‘buy in’ is needed from the football club using the facility and those who are responsible for the maintenance of the pitches.

For example if you are a football club who uses a parish council pitch and you pay to hire the pitch(s) and the parish council cut the grass, line mark the pitches then a joint commitment is needed.

To express your interest in the FA Pitch Improvement Programme please contact Mark Young, Football Development Manager - 

What happens when I have registered my interest for the Pitch Improvement Programme?

  • Wiltshire FA will agree a date to conduct an initial assessment of the pitch(es).
  • A local pitch advisor will be appointed to meet with key personnel and conduct the initial assessment.
  • The pitch advisor produces a written report which will be circulated to your organisation within 28 days.
  • It is then expected that the organisation follow the recommendations in the report.
  • If necessary, Wiltshire FA will then help the club access grant aid to purchase the necessary machinery or services to carry out improvements
  • A pitch advisor will then be appointed 12/18 months later to ‘follow up’ monitor the improvements, and offer further advice on improvements.

Why do I need my pitch testing and how much will it cost?

Our local pitch advisors have a significant amount of experience in the managing and maintaining of natural turf pitches so are well placed to make expert recommendations to improve the performance of your surface. It is critical that when the visit is conducted that a member from the partner organisation(s) including the groundsman are present. This allows the pitch advisor to access a history of the pitch, and make realistic suggestions that are in line with your budgets. 

Club category


Any club/site


Charter Standard Club


Charter Standard Community Club



What is pitch aeration?

Aeration is basically putting holes in the pitch to allow air to get into the greens subsoil, to break up the thatch in the subsoil and allow the greens to drain properly. The purpose of aerating and spiking is to allow oxygen into the root system and to provide a conduit for surface water to the drains.


Why has the Wiltshire FA bought an aerator and tractor?

A common theme of the 24 reports that have currently been undertaken by our pitch advisors is that increased aeration and decompaction is the single most effective way that will improve the performance of pitches across the County. However it may not be affordable for a single club to purchase £40k worth of equipment to carry out the work regularly, and if they wish to contact this work in it can be very costly. In having access to our own contractor and verti-drain we will be able to control the quality of the work carried out and make this service affordable to our member organisations.  

Can my club organisation access the Wiltshire FA aeration service?

Before you are able to access the Wiltshire FA verti-drain equipment bank, the playing surface(s) should have had a visit from the County FA pitch advisor, and the report should include recommendations to increase aeration and decompactation .

How much does verti draining cost?


Tested site

Pitch size


Full size adult


9 v 9


7 v 7



Can we get a discount for multiple pitch sites?

Sites that have multiple pitches will incur a discount per pitch. Sites that involve packing equipment away and moving are counted as separate even if they belong to the same club. Different clubs that have pitches on the same site can work together to maximise discount.

Number of pitches (can be mixed sizes)

Discount off total cost





4 or more



In the expected event that we are oversubscribed pitches will be prioritised as follows:

  • Club that have contributed to the purchase of the equipment bank through Wiltshire Community Area Board grants,
  • Sites that have been pitch tested,
  • Sites prepared to be pitch tested on the day
  • Charter Standard Clubs – by quantity of pitches