Ludgrove School Invests in Trimax 

They take their cricket pretty seriously at Ludgrove School on the outskirts of Wokingham in Berkshire. Amongst the many who have played there were explorer Bear Grylls, the Duke of Kent and former Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home. 

Sir Alec went on to play at club and county level. Bear Grylls – who attributes his adventurous approach to life to his Ludgrove start – recalls only that he was advised to go out and hit sixes on the cricket pitch after he scored nil in a maths test!

Today, the first team pitch is still regarded as hallowed turf at a school that prides itself on its standing as a top cricket school for boys in the eight to 13 age range. There are, however, a great deal more sporting and other grass surfaces that have to be kept up to a high standard, which is why the school decided to introduce a Trimax Snake rotary sports turf mower after taking advice from Graham Merritt, Area Sales Manager at Lister Wilder.

The Snake has the distinction of covering large areas at an exceptional work rate of up to nine acres per hour. With nine full pitches and a nine-golf course to be looked after by a team of two, Estates Manager Malcolm Heppolette recognised that it was the sensible solution.

“Previously, we had an ancient set of cylinder gang mowers that must have been 30 to 50 years old,” he explains. “The reality of the gang mowers was that they cost upwards of £2,000 to get sharpened and maintained each year, whereas new rotary blades for the Snake cost around £200. It’s a much better all-round maintenance proposition because it is also easier to look after. 

He adds: “Although the upfront cost of the Snake was obviously substantial, we are now making an annual saving of £2,000 to £2,500. We are also getting a better cut with a far better finish, and it is a great deal faster.”

“We bought the Snake in the spring of 2022 and it quickly made a noticeable difference because of the sheer quality of the cut. Unlike the gang mowers, it really was cutting as opposed to just tearing the grass out because the blades were blunt and worn. With the Snake it’s not the case, and if you do hit something it’s very easy for us to swap a blade out.”

Time is of the essence for the grounds staff given that the golf course alone takes much of a day to cut while the first team cricket wicket takes an hour and a half and the rest of the football pitches perhaps two hours. The Snake is pulled by a Kubota tractor, bought from Lister Wilder some years ago. 

Ludgrove was founded in north London in 1892 and moved to its present site in 1937, by which point the Barber family’s long association with the school had begun. Today’s headmaster, Simon Barber, lives on the site with wife Sophie and their three children. The school has expanded and developed substantially over the years and now has 185 pupils.  

Other Snake features

  • Automatic belt tensioners
  • Full-width rollers to minimise scalping and allow mowing over kerbs
  • A optional system that enables the decks to be raised for traversing paths without disengaging the PTO
  • Easy height adjustment
  • Almost continuous cutting while turning sharply
  • Three articulating decks follow ground contours
  • Sealed spindles to eliminate regular greasing.