The existing surface has served Bristol City and Bristol Bears well over the past nine years with iconic moments from both sports, as well as hosting sell-out crowds for headline music concerts from world famous artists.

As the leading sports and conference venue in the South West prepares to welcome back Bears and City men and women – following their promotion to the Barclays Women’s Super League – a new pitch era has begun.

And we will keep you up to date with the latest progress as County Turf’s HERO Hybrid Grass – 95 per cent natural and five per cent polyethylene artificial fibres – is installed ready for a potential opening home game of the Sky Bet Championship season (August 5th).

Bristol Sport Group Grounds Manager Dan Sparks has been working for almost 11 years at Ashton Gate and the club’s training facilities, which has already seen the same new surface installed at the Bears High Performance Centre.

Sparks explained: “We use a hybrid model to help resistance to wear and the old product was at the end of its lifespan so it was time to renew it and we have taken the opportunity to do it this summer. It’s a nine-week programme, from the three-week contractor period, and seeding the ground, to first use.”

Stage one has been removal of the existing surface and levelling with sand, on which City’s new signing Haydon Roberts was unveiled on Tuesday.

Sparks explained: “There were a couple of days to take down the stage after the Arctic Monkeys and then the contractors rolled in on the Thursday afterwards.

“It took less than five days to get the existing turf out, dug with an excavator and taken offsite. We have a lower root zone which has really good infiltration but zero moisture retention and nutritional qualities so we are bringing in a root zone mix which has more retention properties in it which the grass lives in. It’s a 50mm binding layer between the lower root zone and where the carpet will sit.”

👀 Next time: Laying the carpet