THE ancient tradition of weaving live willow is making a come back around Bassenthwaite where methods from the Middle Ages are offering contemporary control for riverbank erosion.
In a bid to halt harmful sediment - which is hitting the lake's spawning ground and affecting important fish species willow spiling has proved to be an original green solution.

By weaving live willow rods between stakes that will take root on riverbanks and stabilise earth, it is hoped to significantly cut the amount of soil entering watercourses feeding into Bassenthwaite Lake.

Willow
"We are using an area of wetland beside the River Greta to grow the special willow needed," said lake bailiff Paul Burnell.

"We started planting last May to give us a usable crop for planting this spring and we will be training volunteers, lake wardens, rangers and bailiffs in the ancient art of spiling. Obviously the more riverbanks we tackle, the more planting we'll have to do."

Paul explained willow was cut and woven between stakes which sprout in the spring, providing an extensive root mat and dense, protective top growth.

Manager of Bassenthwaite Lake Restoration Programme John Pinder explained sediment had caused havoc for precious vendace fish dating back to the Ice Age.