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Willow spiling

Spiling is the most common method of bank revetment using willow. It involves weaving live willow rods between live willow stakes set into the affected bank at regular intervals. Willow spiling work is usually carried out between November and April while the willow is dormant.

Within a few months, the willow spiling achieves a dense top growth and a root mat.The root mat provides the bank with added strength to withstand erosion arising from wave action. Top growth can be allowed to grow to form a screen for the bank or controlled by cutting or grazing if access is required in the future.

Could this most traditional of erosion control methods be suitable for your erosion control problem?

We can assess your erosion control problem, often from photos emailed to us, and provide advice on solutions. We offer willow spiling, pre-planted coir rolls, combined solutions and river engineering. We can also provide willow if you wish to install the willow spiling yourself and we can deal with Environment Agency licences for work on watercourses if applicable.

Download our free Top Tips for Willow Spiling.

Call us on 01453 822584 or email us with your erosion control enquiry

Willow spiling installation at a housing development for bank erosion controlWillow spiling installation at a housing development for bank erosion control


There are a few considerations to bear in mind when considering using willow spiling to prevent water erosion:

Willow will not grow below the late spring/early summer water level - for erosion problems below this level a combined solution may be required. This could include the use of stones or hazel faggots to reduce wave buffeting.
Willow does not grown well in shade. Existing tress may require coppicing before spiling is carried out.
The watercourse needs to be large enough so that the willow will not dominate. Using live willow on small streams may not be suitable.

Try our checklist to find out if willow spiling is for you.

This article is a fascinating review of willow spiling projects in the UK: Willow spiling: review of streambank stabilisation projects in the UK

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