Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cleaning the Wandle March 2014

This month was a mega-clean up in Poulter Park in conjunction with a number of other organisations, not just the Wandle Trust. The Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust was the coordinating body with representatives from the Wandle Valley Forum,  Sutton Council, Merton Council, London Wildlife Trust, Merton Conservation Volunteers, the Environment Agency and of course all us Wandle Trust volunteers.

This is part of  project funded by Boris:
‘Poulter Park and Watermeads’ (Wandle Valley Regional Park, Sutton and Merton)- £390,000 This project sits within the Wandle Valley Regional Park and was submitted by the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust. It will result in the creation of new access to Watermeads nature reserve, which is currently closed to the public, by the creation of 4km of new improved paths, new Wandle Gateways and improved seating, signage and interpretation. New flood storage capacity will be created and habitats will be improved across the project area. Walking and cycling from surrounding areas will be improved to create better connections to the Wandle Valley and Wandle trail. It will also help establish the Wandle Green team so trainees can develop employment skills through supporting the delivery of the capital works and parks maintenance. See more at:

It was a land based, litter picking day as the river was not safe to enter. The river may look fine but the water was deep and fast because of the rains. Also it was full of toilet paper and sewage from the Beddington sewage treatment works. The storm tanks used for settlement were overflowing also because of the recent rains and E.Coli levels in the river are high (see Pollution alert: Storm flows from Caterham Bourne through Beddington sewage treatment works).

The banks were not too bad in terms of litter levels, mostly wind blown rather rather than dumped, but still enough to keep us all busy. Our friends Kate and Nigel came along for this clean-up and Mary cycled down to join us at lunchtime to say hello then cycled back again.

There were some lovely ponds alongside the river. I am guessing these might form part of the proposed watermead.

This one was home to two patches of frogspawn - at least I guess it is frogs but I am no expert on amphibian eggs. I cannot remember the last time I saw frog spawn.

It would not be a clean up without the obligatory shopping trolley.

Other mandatory items include bikes, car parts, scaffolding poles, carpet and motor bikes all of which duly appeared. Although we were missing a mattress and child's toy we did get a Christmas tree complete with star.

An added bonus was a sofa-bed from the undergrowth which provided a lunchtime rest facility

My inner caveman was disappointed not to go grunting into the water and heaving heavy stuff out but the lovely sunny weather and heaps of litter harvested made for a very pleasant and satisfying day out.

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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