Maybe my shortest blog ever! Just over a year ago I wrote about the woven willow panels or spiling being used to manage erosion on the banks of the river Wear in Durham. I talked about the benefits of ‘soft’ erosion control and how the roots of the willow help to stabilise the bank.
Yesterday, however, in warm March sunshine I encountered a benefit I hadn’t thought of. The goat willow saplings lining the bank by the university sports grounds are covered in catkins and were absolutely buzzing with pollinators – an important early source of nectar and pollen. I couldn’t get close enough to photograph the insects without risking an unscheduled bath, unfortunately, but I think you can get the picture!