Willow Spiling

Tuesday, February 24th 2015

Today six volunteers came to Foxglove to learn the art of willow spiling. Willow spiling is a traditional technique used for stabilising river banks. We started the day with a short classroom session to explain the basics and then headed out into the wind and rain to put the theory into practice.

We are working on a section of Risedale Beck where in the past large sections of the bank have been eroded when the beck is in flood.

The first job this morning was to knock forty willow posts into the bankside. The volunteers worked really hard and had them all in place by lunch time.

This afternoon we then concentrated on weaving willow withies between the posts to create the new bank.

We made excellent progress and have built about half of the structure. Once finished this wall of willow will be filled in with soil and rocks from behind. The willow will then grow and set roots creating a new stable bank. 

All the materials used on this project are from the coppicing on the reserve, so this really is an amazingly sustainable way for us to protect the banks of the beck.

Whilst some of us worked on the willow spiling another group of volunteers worked their way through part of the woodland behind Risedale Beck removing lots of dead trees. This area of woodland was part of a plantation and needs ‘thinning out’ as part of its management in order to provide space and light for the other trees to grow. They did an fantastic job and removed lots of trees despite the adverse weather conditions.

It has been a really busy and productive day on the reserve and we would like to thank everyone who has contributed.
 


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