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The ground should be flat and level with no wet patches, preferably dry throughout its length and with no long grass. Astroturf is one option but different footware would be needed, and the making of footmarks would not go down well with the operator. A field hockey pitch would be good (though Ice Hockey might be amusing for a short while).
The length of each pulling area needs to be the length of the rope + twice the Pull length + a safety zone at each end. You can make a reduction if the rope has a lot of slack at the ends but tend to err on the long side. For the Fleet Carnival this came out to 35+2*4+2*4 = 51 metres.
The width needs to allow for the teams to move to the left or right without falling into the spectators: 4 metres seems to work.
Allow space for spectators on both side of the rope but make sure that children cannot enter the pulling area whilst a contest is under way. Moveable metal barriers are suitable but remember to allow an entrance/exit.
The only ground marking is the centre line, which needs to extend across the pulling area, perpendicular to the line of pulling.
Ensure that there is an adequate supply of fluids for contestants and spectators. A Beer Tents would usually meet this need, but warn the operators about the number of people taking part so that they have sufficient staff, pumps and beer/larger/cider available. A good supply of soft drinks should also be available for children. You will also need to be sure that the tent is licensed to operate at the event and that people are allowed to drink outside of the tent (try telling them that they are not).
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