Nature-based Erosion Protection

Apr 5, 2023

We are working in partnership with the Environment Agency to plan, design, install and maintain a natural based erosion protection scheme at Wardsend - Hillsborough, Sheffield.

The project aims to stop the ongoing erosion of the riverbank on the edge of a historic landfill site and has been designed with the geomorphological characteristics of the River Don and the local environment in mind.

The scheme champions the use of natural based products such as windblown trees, cracked willow, cliff stone and root plates to create a robust, but natural way of protecting the riverbank from further erosion.

We will be providing a new public access path and landscaping features for greater amenity value.

In March 2023, the RSC team returned to Wardsend to plant over 100 willows and 100 alders at the base of the new river bank. The fast growing species are planted to try to create a layer of small trees to add roots and structure to the soil. The remainder of the new bank has been seeded using a wildflower mix of locally appropriate seeds designed for woodland and heavy shaded areas.

The adjacent land and sloped top of the embankment has also been planted a with a mixture of slower growing species such as silver birch, sycamore, dog wood and cherry to add to create a buffer for the former landfill area to the east of the project.

These two areas will be revisited later in the summer to check on the growth and carry out any required maintenance.

By reducing the carbon footprint of alternative man-made solutions, this method is a pioneering approach to erosion protection.

Nature-based erosion protection scheme at Wardsend, Sheffield

The gallery below shows the progress of the project, from preparation of the site for the winter weather to vegetating and planting completed in Spring 2023.

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Employee checking the river