Tag Archives: Hackbridge

Local Art Work on the Wandle

Senhor Claudio Funari is a well-known local figure in Carshalton, south London. He builds riverside sculptures using scrap metal he has pulled from the River Wandle. He also creates bankside flowerbeds and small gardens using natural materials such as branches.

Originally from São Paulo, Brasil, Funari (that’s what he likes to be called) started chatting with South East Rivers Trust (SERT) team members and visiting researcher Samantha Jane Hughes as they were watching trout breeding in this restored urban chalk river on their lunch break.

Funari talked about his art work along the Wandle and also knew where fish tended to shoal in different reaches of the river. He pulled an old photo album out of his shopping trolley. The photos showed his work as an artist in Brazil in the 1970’s and 1980’s when he was commissioned for sculpture, paintings and restoration work for private clients but also for churches and cathedrals across the state of São Paulo. Another life in another much warmer continent a long long time ago. He wasn’t sad though. He now knows and loves the River Wandle after following family to the UK. Claudio Funari personifies the phrase “life is a journey”. An amazing, and warm hearted man who shares the art and gardens he creates along the Wandle

Here at the Wandle Trust, we strongly support everyone who wants to take care of their local stretch of river. However, it’s important to make sure that your efforts help the river instead of harming it.

For instance, it’s great to pull out rubbish, but we ask you to please leave all plants, tree branches and other natural features in place. 

The Wandle has been very highly modified for flood defence and other purposes in the past, and it now needs as many natural features as possible to act as habitat for insects, birds and fish.

Please don’t bring new plants to the river from your garden or other rivers, as this could introduce damaging new invasive species to the river.

If you’d any more information, or you want to talk to us about adopting your own stretch of the river, please get in touch with us.

Many thanks to all our supporters, and everyone who wants to help us look after the Wandle!

Author: Samantha Jane Hughes

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Wandle Cleanup: July 2015: Sutton

RydonsThe one where a tea related disaster almost struck… 

This July we were in Hackbridge cleaning the Carshalton arm of the river. Our event was kindly supported by Rydons who are developing nearby properties – many thanks to them!

Having arrived an hour early and feeling pretty smug about my efficient morning collecting the van, I discovered I’d brought an empty gas canister with me – disaster! As I began to panic, some kind volunteers who lived nearby offered to boil the kettle – but numbers grew and grew…

Finally Wally saved the day, buying a new full canister! And with that, we started the event.

Wading Team

We divided into two wading teams taking a side of Culvers Island each with team leaders being myself and Chris.

Rubbish Pile Building

Skiing on the JobWhat shocked us all was the amount of rubbish we found! Trolleys, TVs, wooden shelves, patio doors. It was quite shocking. The rubbish pile grew and grew. A personal highlight for me – one ski.

While waders waded, a team of 3 went hunting down Himalayan Balsam. The Wandle Trust have been balsam bashing in this area of a number of years and now only a few plants remain. But it was crucial these didn’t seed. Luckily I had some real experts on the hunt.

Lunch break came and with the kind help of Jackie and Ann, we all had teas and cake. Even I baked this time…

In the afternoon, the waders hopped in at Hackbridge and continued up Restmor Way finding more and more rubbish.

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Eventually I called it a day and got everyone to hunt down tools and wheelbarrows which we had discarded on the way.

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So what did we find?  1 ski, 1 doll hand (very creepy), 1 patio door,  1 rake head, 1 saucepan, 1 drawer, 1 desk, 1 broom handle, 1 trainer, 1 cat statue (thank you Aaron for the kind gift), 1 washing line, 1 bicycle wheel, 1 laptop screen, 1 sandal, 1 umbrella, 1 net, 2 trolleys, 2 cones, 2 TVs, 6 small bottles of vodka (empty), lots of cables, 100s of glass bottles, bags and bags of other junk and let’s not forget – all the Himalayan balsam!

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Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up van after the event, Jackie and Ann for catering for our volunteers, Jackie for supervising the Event Tent, Chris for helping supervise everyone on the day, Wally for saving the day with the gas, and the Waste Management Team at Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aaron, Abinas, Adam, Andrea, Ann, Anthony, Arangen, Barry, Bill, Chris, Dan, Daniel, Dave, David, Dennis, Derek, Devashanthan, Ed, Gary, Gemma, Geoff, Hanna, Jackie, Jan, Jay, Jez, Joe, John N, John S, Jon, Keith, Louise, Marion, Marta, Mike, Nick B, Nick H, Per, Phil, Rayhav, Rob, Rose, Saiprem, Sathyandran, Simon, Stewart, Sue, Vic and Wally.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?   Wally is my cleanup hero.

Hackbridge Restoration Update

This month has seen some drastic changes to the Hackbridge site. Over the last few weeks, contractors and the Wandle Trust team have been working hard to create new banks, backwaters and even an island – all in the name of river restoration!

But with all the building works taking place, the site has begun to look a bit bare. To solve this we got planting…

Hackbridge Planting Event

Last weekend (6th, 7th and 8th September) 60 volunteers from the local community joined the Wandle Trust team and added 6000 plants to the banks of the Wandle. The plants were a variety of species designed to create a natural vegetation structure along the bank. Close to the to water’s edge, volunteers planted aquatic species such as flag iris, purple loosestrife, various sedge species, hemp agrimony, ragged robin and a number of other species to give 18 in all.  In the drier more meadowlike conditions tall herb like wildflower plugs and seeds were planted contatining a mix of 23 native species.

Once these plants have grown, the Hackbridge site will look brilliant – a true wildlife haven in Greater London.

We’d like to thank all the volunteers who came over the weekend to help us – we couldn’t have done it without you!

Working Hard?

Next steps for the site include the installation of woody debris to further diversify the habitats. So keep your eyes peeled for our next update!