Thames Canal – Design and erosion control

Install toe protection to guard against wind and boat wash generated wave erosion

Canal bank protection
Stakeholder meeting to formally identify the new Wilts & Berks canal off-take point


Cain Bio-engineering won a design/build contract in 2006 to contribute bio-engineered banks along the margins of the new Wilts & Berks canal near Abingdon on the Thames.

Project Brief

  • Install toe protection to guard against wind and boat wash generated wave erosion for a newly created canal bank;
  • Installation to be resistant to burrowing signal crayfish; and
  • Provide essential environmental gain and aesthetics to the newly created channel.


  • Cain Bio-Engineering designed and installed a robust marginal vegetated mattress along the banks of a new 150m section of the Wilts and Berks canal.
  •  Constructed of hardwood posts with our trademark Coirnet geotextiles, the marginal mattress is designed to withstand and dissipate the wave action caused by boat traffic.
  •  This cost effective, soft engineered approach uses the marginal wetland vegetation as a way of dissipating boat bow wave energy, while providing habitat for aquatic animals and preventing burrowing from invasive North American signal crayfish.


..Cain Bio-Engineering was engaged to provide a solution and specified their marginal mattress system that has been used successfully on the Kennet & Avon Canal. This soft-engineered scheme cost less than one eighth of the steel piling option, offering excellent value for money as well as being environmentally compatible. I have no hesitation in recommending both the system and Cain Bio-Engineering for work of this nature.’ JL (Chairman) –  Wilts & Berks Canal Trust