Streetscape's Holding Back the Flood

A striking representation of the actions taken by the North Yorkshire town of Pickering to reduce any recurrence of recent flooding, where trees have been planted on the surrounding hills to slow down water run-off after heavy rainfall

Gardens for a Changing World

Did you know...

  • Rather than introduce new concrete flood defenses, a more effective solution to holding back flood waters has been to plant thousands of alders on the slopes and introduce leaky dams to slow down flowing waters
  • Nine alders, Alnus glutinosa, are sited in the pond or on the central island, representing those on the hillsides around Pickering
  • The pond representing the flood waters around the town has been excavated to a depth of 1.5metre (4ft) and contains 52,000 litres of 'muddy' water

About the Garden

Holding Back the Flood takes inspiration from, and draws attention to, the small North Yorkshire town of Pickering, which was turned down for a multi-million pound flood protection grant, despite its location at the foot of the North Yorkshire moors and its recent history as a flood hotspot.

In need of alternative effective solutions, the town began to instigate a programme that would slow the drainage water flowing from the North Yorkshire moors significantly. Thousands of alder trees have been planted and leaky dams crafted to slow the flow following centuries-old wisdom largely discarded by contemporary planners.

Holding Back the Flood demonstrates that unattractive concrete barriers are not the only solution to today’s environmental issues.

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