Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cleaning the Wandle January 2014

A chilly clean-up in North Road, South Wimbledon carrying on from where we left off last month (Cleaning the Wandle December 2013).

The river was swollen and rapid due to all the recent rain. Levels had dropped from a reccy done a couple of days earlier. We were able to go in but the current was pretty strong so I decided not so take my newly upgraded iPhone with me, hence no action shots from the water.

Setting up the gazebo

I like to be there promptly as there are a limited number of size 9 waders. These are heavy duty waders with steel toe caps and, more importantly, steel shanks to protect your soles in case of treading on jagged rubbish.

The equipment laid out

This stretch was not as bad as some in terms of rubbish despite the adjacent housing estate. Only two shopping trolleys, a couple of tyres, one bike (that I saw), very little in the way of carpets, duvets and mattresses plus a ton (literally) of general rubbish. We (not me personally) did find a firearm which may turn out to be a starting pistol but did require the police to attend.

At the end a couple of us did a final scan of the stretch for overlooked equipment, trugs, litter-pickers, grapples and crowbars - all clear.

As usual we load all the rubbish onto the local council lorry.

The water was freezing - air temperature 0°C - so my toes were pretty chilly despite wearing longjohns. I leapt into the shower a bit too promptly when I got home and gave myself a case of chilblains. Painful. Just the big toes but it has taught me a lesson: thicker socks and warm the feet gently before showering.

The Wandle Trust is an environmental charity dedicated to restoring and maintaining the health of the River Wandle and its catchment. They hold community river cleanups on the second Sunday of every month, up and down this unique urban chalkstream – pulling out everything from shopping trolleys to shotguns, and improving the environment for birds, fish, insects and local people. For more visit:

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