Green Engineering at Riverside Meadows, Wallingford
Volunteers are helping to reclaim land at Riverside Meadows, Wallingford. Anyone walking or sailing along the River Thames will have noticed sections that have eroded, due to people, dogs, livestock or wash from boats. At Riverside Meadows grazing cattle had become accustomed to having a paddle and in several places the bank was disappearing quickly.
Instead of concrete we are using live willow, coppiced from other Earth Trust sites, to protect and reclaim the bank. There are two methods: willow is tied in bundles and lain on the floor and willow stakes are driven into the ground at the waters edge with additional willow woven between the stakes to create a barrier. When the river floods slit is trapped within the willow floor and trapped by the hurdle barrier.
Every year an additional layer will be added to the willow floor, with approximately 20cm of the river bank reclaimed annually. At Riverside Meadows the living willow hurdle barrier has successfuly sprouted, not only does this natural technique work, it's free and looks great too!