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An age-old technique to protect some shoreline

Erosion control using hazel faggots

A recreational park, historic landfill site and a collapsing river bank were causing problems for Exeter City Council. The park has been built on an old landfill site on the edge of the Exe Estuary and waste materials were surfacing on the river bank as it was being eroded by the tidal movement on the estuary.

Could an old fashioned method of erosion control work? We decided to encourage the deposition of silt on the bank using a grid of chestnut stakes and a ‘mattress’ of hazel faggots. In theory, the hazel would disrupt the water flow and encourage silt to be deposited on the bank.

We happened to visit recently after a few years and the solution is working perfectly. The hazel has indeed encouraged silt to deposit itself along the bank and reeds are growing down towards the shoreline. This has greatly reduced the erosion along the estuary and means that the waste materials will be kept safely underground.

There’s a short video below that you might like to watch if you want to understand in more detail, exactly how the solution was installed. And of course, a ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ photo.