Skip to content

Case Study: Willow spiling in a domestic setting – Cheltenham

Can willow spiling help to reinstate the river bank next to a house?

Erosion control using willow in a private garden

If 20m of river bank had washed away in the floods of 2007 just a few metres from your house, you would be understandably worried. Our client was very concerned that the encroachment would continue and was looking for a solution that could be used in an inaccessible area and wouldn’t cost the earth.

Stone gabions might be an obvious solution but would have cost in excess of £50,000 and involved the use of heavy machinery over the drive and front garden.

We drew up plans for the works proposed and got consent from the Environment Agency. The affected area was cleared and three tiers of willow spiling were installed with the area behind each tier being backfilled to allow the willow to root.

The work was undertaken for about 20% of the cost of gabions and there was no damage to the client’s drive or garden during installation. Take a look at the picture which shows the growth after just one year – all those willow roots are doing the job of binding the bank together to protect it against future flooding.