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Willow spiling used to prevent soil erosion on the River Severn next to a cycle path


An area of bank of the River Severn was badly eroded and threatening to undermine an adjacent cycle track.  Sustrans needed a solution that could be carried out for little cost without closing the cycle track (which is well used as it takes cyclists off the busy A417).

Using the naturally occuring silt in the River Severn to help with bank stabilisation

As the River Severn is heavily silt-laden, the obvious solution was to get the river to drop its silt along the bank, and thus, it would do the erosion control itself.  This was achieved by installing live willow spiling along the bank.

A low-impact, cost effective and attractive solution

The bank was able to withstand complete submergence by high river levels within a few weeks’ of completion.  Unlike other trees, willows can cope with being completely flooded in the winter and occasional flooding in the summer.

The solution is low impact and much cheaper than a hard landscaping option.  Installation was done quickly and with minimal disruption despite access being limited – this meant that the cycle path could stay open while works were underway.

The spiling looks very attractive and is in keeping with the rest of the cycle path.

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