Case study:Craigton Riparian and NFM Orchard Planting

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Location: 56° 13' 7", -3° 57' 12"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Economic aspects, Fisheries, Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Social benefits
Country Scotland
Main contact forename Lawrence
Main contact surname Belleni
Main contact user ID User:Lbelleni
Contact organisation The Conservation Volunteers and the Centre for River Ecosystem Science
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Riparian trees planted along the bank of the river, connecting to remnant riparian woodland and covering areas of the bank embankment that are breached earliest by out of channel flow.

Project summary

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Craigton Farm sits inside a large meander of the Allan Water between the villages of Ashfield and Kinbuck. The Allan Water has two large areas downstream of Craigton classified as Potentially Vulnerable Areas to flooding, which include the townships of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan. During flood events, out of channel flow passes across the Craigton Farm fields where little rugosity exists to attenuate the flood water.

Click the link to see video footage of flood water flowing back into the Allan Water at the downstream side of the meander encompassing Craigton Farm:

Objectives of the project were: to reduce the speed of the out of channel flow across the farm fields; restore and increase natural riparian habitat that will benefit terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity; increase the opportunity for woody debris interaction in the river system that will benefit fisheries and habitat diversity; create an area of enhanced natural beauty for local communities to enjoy; provide an opportunity for local people to be able to learn, manage and harvest a locally sustainable food resource through the Craigton Community Orchard Group; and an opportunity to engage with local residents about Natural Flood Management by obtaining local volunteers to carry out the tree planting.

Work carried out: 420 riparian tree species including downy birch, goat willow, osier, hawthorn, rowan and hazel were planted on the banks of the Allan Water at Craigton Farm inline with breaches in the embankment at the upstream end of the meander, and where flood water flows back into the river at the downstream end. 300 trees were planted on the upstream side of the site and the remaining 120 trees were planted on the downstream side. Trees were planted by volunteers with emphasis given to plant trees at random spacing and in dense clumps inline with out of channel flow pathways. The width of the tree planting is around 5m for the majority of the two sections, however there is a fenced area on the upstream side of the meander that has been planted up to 30m width at points, bringing the planted area to around 0.5ha.

In addition, willow cuttings/whips 6-9inches long were collected from local willows and planted in parts of the river bank that would have a lot of flow interaction such as at the water's edge, eroded bank faces or inline with out of channel flow pathways to increase rugosity without risking more valuable tree species.

23 orchard trees were planted in an old disused horse field in the flood pathway on the upstream side of the farm. The orchard was designed so that no distinct channels or rows existed facing the direction of flow flood water would come from. This resulted in a ping-pong table planting design that is aimed to dissipate energy from flood water passing through the orchard. Mound planting was used to elevate the root ball of the orchard trees above the ground level to help protect the roots from being submerged for long periods in flood water, and therefore affecting the orchard trees survival. Orchard trees were planted 10m apart to allow room for growth, and ease of access, maintenance and harvest in the future.

In addition, 105 wild harvest shrub species were planted in a similar ping-pong table style design, behind the orchard trees. The wild harvest trees create another obstacle for flowing flood water to pass through dissipating more energy. The field that comprises the orchard and wild harvest trees covers 1ha.

Challenges included managing volunteers in a fun manner whilst also ensuring they plant trees correctly, and continual maintenance and care of trees over the long term.


  • 420 wet woodland trees obtained through the Woodland Trust's Free Trees Grant;
  • 23 orchard trees obtained from the Central Scotland Green Network's Orchard Grant Scheme;
  • and 120 wild harvest obtained through the Woodland Trust's Free Trees Grant.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Monitoring of the tree establishment success rate will be carried out.

Lessons learnt

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  • Willow cuttings look like they have had a low success rate, potentially spiral guard and cane may improve success.
  • Thicker willow cuttings, may also have produced larger survival rates.
  • Weed killer on planting positions weeks before being planted may have improved the success rate of riparian and wild harvest trees by reducing competition from grasses

Image gallery

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Catchment and subcatchment


Name Allan Water
WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Allan Water
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present No
Invasive species present Yes
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use Improved/semi-improved grassland/pasture, Rough unimproved grassland/pasture, Broadleaf/mixed woodland (semi natural)
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m) 475m
0.475 km
47,500 cm
Project started 2013/08/01
Works started 2013/11/17
Works completed 2014/03/08
Project completed 2014/03/08
Total cost category
Total cost (k€) 0.639
0.639 k€
639 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design TCV and CRESS
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure
Other reasons for the project Flood mitigation downstream, Landscape enhancement, Bank erosion, biodiversity


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor Creation of wet woodland, orchard
Planform / Channel pattern
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement) Volunteer engagement


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

Link Description

Supplementary Information

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