Willow Spiling

What is it?

  • An ancient technique that has been modified and improved upon to reduce excess silt input to the river from ‘aggravated’ erosion of riverbanks
  • Using locally grown willow and local craftsman to weave a willow hurdle into the river bank
  • It is all done by hand, no machinery required


  • Protects the river from excess silt caused by eroding riverbanks
  • PiP has installed 300m over seven sites and all have survived the 2015/16 floods and have effectively protected the riverbanks
  • There are wider benefits for biodiversity providing habitat and also shade to river for mussels and other species
  • SSSI consent is required on protected sites


  • Suitable sites need to be carefully selected to ensure its success, it doesn’t work everywhere
  • Must be maintained and cut every three years
  • Landowners encouraged to maintain it long-term – incentive is that it can be sold or re-used elsewhere on their site

See some before and after photos below.

Photo Gallery