Simon Fowler Traditional Estate Work
Willow Spiling / Bank Stabilising
Willow spiling is a traditional form of riverbank stabilisation or revetment. Carried out during winter or early spring, live willow rods are woven around upright willow posts driven into the stream bank where erosion and collapse is occurring. In spring, these living willow rods and posts send out shoots and roots into the bank holding the soil firm, thus solving the problem.

This method is a soft form of river engineering, requiring minimal heavy equipment and so causing least disturbance to the river environment. A rough-finished surface to the wall of spiling is preferable. Such a surface slows the river flow near the bank allowing the slow moving water to deposit the silt and mud it carries, thus adding to the protection of the riverbank. Overtime, the increased deposits and the spreading willow roots stabilise the bank and create a naturalised wildlife habitat.
Willow Spiling
Winter: willow rods woven about willow posts driven into the bank. The rough surface encourages river deposits and is an ideal site for nesting birds.
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Winter: willow rods woven about willow posts driven into the bank. The rough surface encourages river deposits and is an ideal site for nesting birds.
Spring: the willow rods and posts put forth strong growth. This green engineering gives an attractive appearance. No unsightly metal piles or rock filled gabions.
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Spring: the willow rods and posts put forth strong growth. This green engineering gives an attractive appearance. No unsightly metal piles or rock filled gabions.
Long, heavy duty willow piles (posts) ready for use at the sight of river bank erosion.
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Long, heavy duty willow piles (posts) ready for use at the sight of river bank erosion.
Stout living willow piles (posts) driven into the ground at half metre intervals.
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Stout living willow piles (posts) driven into the ground at half metre intervals.
Living willow rods woven between the posts, awaiting backfilling with soil.
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Living willow rods woven between the posts, awaiting backfilling with soil.
The backfilled soil is supported by the attractive woven fence, without unsightly metal piles or rock filled gabions.
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The backfilled soil is supported by the attractive woven fence, without unsightly metal piles or rock filled gabions.
The willow piles and posts will root into the bank helping to stabilise the soil.
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The willow piles and posts will root into the bank helping to stabilise the soil.
The back filled soil will eventually become colonised by natural river side vegetation.
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The back filled soil will eventually become colonised by natural river side vegetation.
Protecting a garden from erosion and showing early spring growth.
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Protecting a garden from erosion and showing early spring growth.
Terracing around a ramp allowing access to the river.
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Terracing around a ramp allowing access to the river.
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Willow Spiling or Bank Stabilizing
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