Friday, October 03, 2014

Cleaning the Wandle September 2014

Ravensbury Park, Merton. Sunday 14-September-2014.

This was a massive clear up. Instead of the usual 40 or so volunteers there were over 70! The regulars were supplemented by Friends of Ravensbury Park, the Richmond, The American International University in London and young volunteers from The Challenge Network.

Every clean up starts with a safety briefing. I've heard it so many times I think I could recite it verbatim. Then it was into the waders and into the river.

We started at a bridge, always a "good" place for rubbish and work our way upstream. That way you are working into clean water without stirred up silt obscuring your view of the river bottom.

In a quiet spot under a tree I found this old helmet. I couldn't tell you its age but I would assume second world war.

There is also a lake which was badly overrun with floating pennywort - an invasive species from North America. Huge floating mats of the stuff were pushed along to an edge where it could be lifted out.

Then a chain of volunteers transported it to an ever growing compost heap.

Also present at this clean up was Luke from the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership. This is a Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) Project, which aims to deliver a series of improvement projects along the whole length of the River Wandle. One of these is to narrow and diversify the channel through the park - not unlike the works done on the Hogsmill.

Another well spent eco-Sunday.

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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