Wandle Cleanup: September 2019: Sutton

This month we were in Beddington Park, in Sutton and we had a Wandle cleanup with a twist!

Over the last 12 months our wonderful volunteers have given over 1400 hours of their time to help the River Wandle by removing more than 40 tonnes of rubbish from along its length. After all this hard work we wanted to thank everyone by hosing a Litter Picnic. Two hours of cleaning up the Wandle followed by a picnic; giving us ample time to chat and bask in the warm glow of this year’s achievements.

Much of the park is kept clear by the brilliant work carried out by the Friends of Beddington Park. So we set to work clearing the section of the Wandle at the most upstream end of Beddington Park that runs behind Carew Manor. This section is the least visible so tends to accumulate the most litter.

Our haul mostly consisted of plastic bags, wrappers and bottles – though we also picked up a large bundle of chicken wire fencing, a statue, a couple of tyres and a kid’s bike.

While the adults were cleaning up the river, our younger friends had a chance to look more closely at what lives in the water and how these creatures might be affected by litter.  They found freshwater shrimp, damselfly nymphs and were especially good at finding sticklebacks.  They showed a real understanding and appreciation for the natural world as they joined in all our games and activities. Thanks to all the kids who helped test out some of our new education and family activities!  Our Junior River Ranger programme is now up and running if you are looking for ideas for what to do during your next visit to the river.

We managed to collect this nice heap of rubbish in just under 2 hours – not bad going!

With the sun shining and the temperatures rising it was time to kick back and relax with a long lunch. A special thanks to Wally for making such delicious rhubarb muffins with his very own home grown rhubarb. Yum!

Massive thanks to everyone who helped set up at the start of the day and pack up the van at the end of the event, Dave for supervising the Event Tent, Sutton Council for organising the collection of all the rubbish, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment, and of course to our funders The National Lottery Community Fund!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Andy, Clare, Joseph, Veronique, Ella, Jessica, Christophe, Paul, Claire, Alfie, Rosey, Oliver, Yvonne, Chris, Joe, Wally, Bey, Caurie-ann, Martin, Emma, William, Simon, Guy, Anna, Margo, Per, Geoff, Charles, Neil, Verity, Frank, Edie, Mikey, Margaret, Kyle, Andy, Michael, Murray, Elisabeth, Isla, Gemma, Jonathan, Dave, Fiona, Marion, Joseph, Wayne, Margaret, Rob, Sheila, Julia, Lydia, Hamzah, Jessica, Kayla, Camilla, Tayla and Brittany.

See you all along the river again soon,

Jess

Wandle Cleanup: August 2019: Wandsworth

For this month’s cleanup we headed to Ravensbury Terrace, where the Wandle forms the boundary between the boroughs of Wandsworth and Merton.

As usual, once everybody had arrived, we did a quick Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. Earlier in the year, we had to cancel the cleanup at this particular site due to bad weather, so luckily the storm earlier in the week did not cause the river levels to rise too high, and we were able to go ahead. On the day the weather was windy but lovely and sunny – perfect for wading!

We had a total of 29 volunteers this month working together wading, pulling rubbish out from the river and litter picking the banks. We were expecting to discover a large accumulation of rubbish, due to the length of time since we’d visited this site, and whilst we found a fair amount, it was much cleaner than we thought!

We didn’t just find litter in the river this month… we also saved a butterfly from drowning and left him to dry out on the banks.

We stopped for lunch around 1 o’clock and had to eat the cake fast as it was melting in the sunshine! We also had time to model some of the interesting items we found.

After lunch we did a second sweep of the river and also ventured downstream a little more. We always manage to find more rubbish, so we went all the way through until 3 o’clock, when we finally decided to call it a day.

Here is the final rubbish pile.

So what did we find? 5 tyres, two bikes, two traffic cones, a carpet, a pillow, a make-up suitcase, a till (unfortunately empty), a pipe, a TV, 1 radiator, three footballs, a pram and as always lots of bottles, cans and plastic bags. 

Massive thanks to everyone who helped set up at the start of the day and pack up the van at the end of the event, Dave for supervising the Event Tent, Wandsworth Council for organising the collection of all the rubbish, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment, and of course to our funders The National Lottery Community Fund!

Special shout out to Guy and helpers for clearing over 1500 Himalayan Balsam plants so we could litter pick the bank and access the river easily and to David for testing out the depth of the river!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Tom, Rob, Gearoid, Dave, Wally, Ben, Sheila, Tom, Charlene, Jason, Margaret, Charles, Chris, Fay, Deborah, David, Daphne, David, Paul, Derek, Ed, Thomas, William, Phil, Davina, Paul, Fingal and Guy.  

As this was our last clean-up, Jo and I would like to say a massive thank you to Polly and Jess from the Wandle Trust for training us and giving us the opportunity to run these cleanups. We have loved every minute and are sad to be leaving.

To all the volunteers that come out every month come rain or shine, you really are the heart of this charity and without you all we would not be able to run these events and make the difference we do to the river and surrounding environment.

Particularly huge thanks to Dave and Wally for giving us all the guidance and humour we could possibly ask for!

We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing the clean-ups continue to grow in the future. We will definitely be back to volunteer once we are finished on our next adventures!

Lucy and Jo.

Wandle Cleanup: July 2019: Sutton

For the July Cleanup we headed to Goat Road, Sutton.

We started off the day with the usual Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. As always, everyone was very eager to crack on with wading and litter picking along the banks.

We had 52 volunteers join us this month, another great turn out! From a distance, the river seemed fairly clean, but on closer inspection, we could see lots of rubbish was entangled in the river vegetation and bank sides. Derek had his eye on a Boris bike and motorcycle he had spotted earlier in the month so a few of the volunteers focused on retrieving these.

The riverbanks also needed a thorough litter picking and we came across around 100 cans that had been carelessly discarded.

When it was time for a lunch break, we were all hurrying to get a piece of Jo’s mums’ delicious coffee and walnut cake (thank you Valerie!).

In the afternoon we moved upstream of the road bridge to clear the section of river downstream of the weir.

There was still so much rubbish to find, so we went all the way through until 3 o’clock when we finally decided to call it a day.

Here is the final rubbish pile – a haul so big the council had to do two trips to take it away!

So what did we find? 10 tyres, a motorbike, a Boris bike, a bed, one mattress, a traffic cone, a carpet, two barriers, various toys, a bike, two coconuts, a toilet, and as always lots of bottles, cans and plastic bags. 

See you all next month!

Lucy and Jo

Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up the van at the end of the event, Dave for supervising the Event Tent, and Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the same day, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment, and to our funders, the National Lottery Community Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Val, Martin, Rosie, Tomm, Steve, Pauline, Dizzy, Dave, Kate, Jane, Dave, Guy, Steve, Takako, Thomas, Roderick, Fiona, Tony, Bertie, Jason, Paul, Syed, Sumayya, James, Lawson, Mike, Margo, Chris, Charles, Derek, Aaron, Nick, Claire, Joseph, Benjamin, Per, Phil, Andy, Joseph, Marion, Neil, Thea, Sarah, John, Wally, Rob, Dylan and Elisabeth.

Wandle Cleanup: June 2019: Merton

Our June river cleanup took place at North Road, Merton. We had a great turnout this month with 68 keen volunteers.

Following the welcome talk and health and safety briefing, we headed downstream to access the river and start removing the rubbish. It was amazing to discover how much litter was both floating and embedded in the riverbed and banks.

Items such as plastic bottles and food wrappers quickly filled the trugs, and volunteers on the banks helped to bag it up and wheel it to the rubbish pile.

The wading team in action.
Yorkshire puddings anyone?

We also found quite a few larger, heavier items such as duvets, bicycles and a three-piece sofa set! We hauled these onto the banks as a team, and the cub scouts also did a great job of bagging up the rubbish and carrying it to the rubbish pile.

Warning! Duvets are heavy when wet!

Several trees had fallen across the river, creating great habitat for insects, birds and fish, and also trapping rubbish for us to retrieve. The volunteers carefully leafed through the branches, searching for “hidden treasures”.

A litter trap – and also an important refuse for small fish and birds.

Around 1pm we took a break to refuel. A huge thanks to Wally for managing the refreshments. Whilst enjoying some cake we sang Happy Birthday to Derek, one of our long serving and dedicated cleanup team.

After lunch we went back in the river where we’d left off and continued upstream pulling more rubbish. In total we removed a total of 6 tonnes of rubbish from along just 250m of river!

Trug, after trug, after trug of rubbish!

What did we find?
Two bicycles, a sofa and two armchairs, car tyres, a TV, duvets, an estate agent signpost, various parts of motor vehicles, children’s toys, kitchen pots and pans, religious statues, and the usual food wrappers and drinks bottles and cans.

We had a massive rubbish pile by the end of the session!

Great work everyone. Looking forward to seeing you all at our July cleanup!

Jo & Lucy

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Wally for supervising the Event Tent, Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment, and to our funders, the National Lottery Community Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Tim, Simon, Carter, Shaun, Claire, Alfie, Sheila, Phil, Dave, Chris, John, Carolyn, Nick, Tom, Jenny, Becky, Ed, Matthew, Tony, Charles, Tim, William, Steve, Emma, Berte, Joanna, Thomas, Anita, Wally, Neil, Guy, David, Peter, Martin, Per, Andy, Nick, Farah, Davina, Aria, Murray, Elizabeth, Claire, Joseph, Alan, Jason, Denis, Ivan, Robert, Wilfred, Sebastian, Arna, Jane, Alan, Rob, Bev, Robert, Stewart, Jill, Leo, Aaron, Brian, Thea, Phil, Liz, Chris, Simon, Suzanne

Wandle Cleanup: May 2019: Merton

For our May cleanup we headed to Plough Lane in Merton.

We started off the day with the usual Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. For the first time this year we were lucky to have lovely sunny weather, so everyone was very eager to crack on with wading and litter picking around the banks.

We had another amazing turnout this month, with 49 volunteers getting stuck in cleaning the river. Initially the site seemed fairly clean, but once we got in the river it was shocking to see how much was embedded into the river bed.

The riverbanks were very clean, so the morning mainly consisted of removing rubbish from the river itself. This site was particularly bad for wet wipes and cloth trapped in the riverbed and surrounding vegetation. We had to work as a team to get the rubbish up from the river (we channelled our inner superman/ninja turtle).

We stopped for lunch around 1 o’clock and were all hurrying to get a piece of the lovely lemon drizzle cake made by Jackie – huge thank you for this, it was delicious!

After lunch we did a second sweep of the river and found even more cloth tangled in the riverbed. There was still so much rubbish to find, so we went all the way through until 3 o’clock when we finally decided to call it a day.

Here is the final rubbish pile.

So what did we find? 12 tyres, a trolley, a scooter, a bed frame, some socks, a traffic cone, a skateboard, various parts of a car, two large bones, a carpet, two barriers, superman, ninja turtle, various toys, a bike, huge amounts of wet wipes and other cloth, and as always lots of bottles, cans and plastic bags. 

Finally, we would like to say a massive thank you to the Robins & Day Vauxhall show room, for letting us use their toilet and also offering teas and coffees!

Lucy and Jo

Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up the van at the end of the event, Dave for supervising the Event Tent, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment,Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish and of course to our funders, The National Lottery Community Fund!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Mike, Suzanne, Charles, Sheila, Bev, Sally, Derek, Aaron, Claire, David, Caroline, Ian, Joe, Neil, Simon, Dave, Luke, Lynda, Steve, Joanne, Elizabeth, Chris, William, Guy, Paul, Alfie, Beau, Steve, David, Per, Nick, Andy, Margaret, Rob, Suzanne, Steve, Martin, Indi, Linda, Davina, Aria, Phil, Kate, Estelle, Will and Jamie.

Wandle Cleanup: April 2019: Sutton

For our April cleanup we headed to Culvers Avenue, Sutton as part of the nationwide Great British Spring Clean taking place this month.

As usual we started off the day with a Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. We then cracked on with wading and litter picking around the banks.

We had an amazing turnout this month with 72 volunteers who were all full of enthusiasm and eagerness to clean the river!

Before lunch we removed litter along the long stretch of the river running through the park, all the way down to Culvers Avenue and the areas around the river. We found lots of personal items, including a sock, some keys, a phone and a coat. Another small group of volunteers spent the morning clearing the river near Hackbridge Road. 

We stopped for lunch around 1pm and were lucky to have some home-baked goods waiting for us, made by two of the students who volunteering with us – massive thanks to both of you, the cakes were delicious!

After lunch we went down the right-hand side of the river and removed even more litter from the river and banks, finding components of a basketball net.

There was so much rubbish to find we went all the way through until 3 o’clock when we finally decided to call it a day.

Here is the final rubbish pile.

So what did we find? 2 tyres, a trolley, a pushchair, a toilet, 2 footballs, a coat, some socks, a pogo stick, a scooter, a cone, a basketball net and fixture, some keys, a phone, a type writer, lots of bottles, cans and plastic bags. 

Lucy and Jo

Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up the van at the end of the event, Wally for supervising the Event Tent, Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to The National Lottery Community Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Martin, Sheila, Paul, Elizabeth, Brenda, John, Jan, Martin, Mickey, Amanda, Maria, Rowna, Natalie, Guy, Fran, Leila, Richard, Elizabeth, Steve, Amanda, Nicholas, Jenny, Andrea, Marion, Alistair, Nick, Christopher, Jessica, Mick, Tom, Clare, Joseph, Ed, Matthew, Nick, Wayne, Tony, Phil, Clare, Graham, Rob, Amberel, Sian, Rob, Charles, Victor, Vivienne, William, Elisabete, Isla, Simon, Autem, Kate, Bev, Rob, Margaret, James, Elaine, Gillian, Geoff, Dave , Wally, and Aaron.

Wandle Cleanup: March 2019: Wandsworth

Our March river cleanup took place in King George’s Park, Wandsworth. We visited this site back in December and the area still appeared to be reasonably clean, which is a positive sign of the impact of our work.

After a night of heavy rain and continued strong winds the river was not suitable for wading – fast current and well above waist height for most of us. However, we had 46 happy volunteers turn up for litter picking along the banks. In doing this valuable work, they are preventing lots of pieces of litter entering the waterway.

We started the day with the usual welcome talk and health and safety briefing. It was great to see a few newbies eager to get involved as well as all our regulars keen as ever.

The majority of the rubbish was small pieces of litter such as food wrappers and packaging. The beady eyes of our volunteers helped them pick up even the smallest pieces of rubbish, however the wind proved a challenge for keeping it in the bags. We also removed plastic bags and cloths tangled amongst brambles and tree roots.

Around 12:30pm we took a break for lunch and hot drinks – huge thanks to Rosie for managing the refreshments. As the river condition had not improved for wading and most of the litter had been cleared during the morning, we decided to stop for the day and let everyone enjoy their Sunday afternoon.

Great work everyone – look how much we removed!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the April cleanup. Fingers crossed for fine weather and wading!

Jo

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, those who supervised the Event Tent, Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to our funders, the National Lottery Community Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Martin, Guy, Clare, Joseph, Jess, Nyssa, Billy, Jessica, John, Davina, Mia, Zhen, Errol, Dave, Derek, Aaron, Stefan, Nally, Rosie, Robert, Nick, Andy, Simon, William, Margaret, Kyle, David, Libby, Will, Charles, Amanda, Alexis, Steve, Jason, Nick, Rob, Caroline, Phil, Paul, Phil, Per, Chris, James, Natalie, Jane, Jamie.

Wandle Cleanup: February 2019: Merton

Our February river cleanup took place in Wandle Park, Merton. This month’s cleanup was a little different from usual; combining litter picking, fly-tipping removal and tackling floating pennywort.

Floating pennywort is an invasive non-native plant species. This means the species was introduced to the area and is causing harm to the naturally occurring life in the river. Pennywort can be easily seen floating on the surface of the river like little kidney-shaped lily pads. It causes a range of problems including changing the availability of oxygen in the water, threatening fish and invertebrates, choking drainage systems and crowding out native water plants. With this in mind, we thought it would be best to get in early and remove the pennywort before spring arrives.

Luckily we had 52 lovely volunteers turn up to lend a hand!

The day began with the welcome talk and health and safety briefing before splitting the group into litter pickers and pennywort removers.

There was some excellent team work going on in the river as pennywort was pulled and removed, then wheeled away.

Most of the litter was likely a result of park users and included bottles, drinks cans, food packaging and footballs.

Around 12:30pm we took a break for lunch. Shout out to the Richmond University Great British Bake Off Group and Per’s wife for all the delicious baked goods; and Rosie and Wally for manning the refreshment tent ensuring everyone warmed up with hot drinks.

After lunch, our volunteers headed back into the river. Many of the litter pickers had sought out a few hotspots of litter which they cleared up. Top finds were a plastic palm tree and several plastic Christmas trees.

Dave had set up a catch net at the start of the day to prevent any drifting pennywort fragments from floating downstream. As a final job before packing up, this was emptied and removed.

All our volunteers should be extremely proud of their effort and work as the river looked much clearer and the flow had increased. On top of removing the pennywort, look at how much litter was also collected – great work!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the March cleanup!

Jo

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, those who baked and those who supervised the Event Tent, Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to our funders, Merton Council and the National Lottery Communtiy Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Lynda, Champior, Joanna, Davinay, Tom, Grant, Billy, Jihyun, Phil, Derek, Per, Charles, Chris, James, Steve, Becky, Gareth, Martin, David, Andy, Paul, Nicholas, Robert, Tony, Jess, Chris, James, Simon, William, Nyssa, Pontus, Lauren, Jacob, Nicholas, Jenny, Sue, Anita, Philomenia, Sanner, Hazjq, Hassan, Jane, Rosie, Margaret, Kyle, Wally, Dave, Milan, Aaron, Gideon, Erica and Ed.

Wandle Cleanup: January 2019: Sutton

Happy New Year to you all.

For the first cleanup of 2019 we visited Poulter Park in Sutton – and what a great start to the year it was.

We began the day with our Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing, important for all, especially our newcomers; 38 volunteers in total.

The results of recent fly tipping by Goat Bridge had been noticed by a few volunteers on arrival, so we decided to send a some of our well-practised volunteers to clear this site. Meanwhile, the rest of us headed down to the river with waders, litter pickers and bin bags to begin clearing the water and banks. We worked upstream to the weir.

Many of our long-standing volunteers remembered clearing several hundred car tyres from this stretch of river a few years ago so there was no surprise at all as more started rolling out of the water. Luckily not anywhere near as many.

We found several chairs, too – probably a little too soggy to sit on now!

There was also one unknown but heavy object on the river bed that proved a little too much for volunteers, try as they might!

It took some convincing to get everyone out of the water for lunch, but eventually we made it back up to the gazebo for tea, coffee and cake.

After lunch we decided to do a second sweep of the river as either side of our entry point and the weir the river can get a little deep. It was surprising how much more we could pull out.

Today’s finds also included lots of toys which have been added to our collection for the Museum of London.

Finishing up around 2:30pm we stood back to admire our haul.

So what did we find? 16 car tyres, 5 chairs, 1 bike, a scary looking doll, a suitcase, car headlights

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the February cleanup!

Jo

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, those who supervised the Event Tent, Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day ,Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to our funders, the Big Lottery.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Dave, Phil, Luke, Raphael, Lynda, Sheila, Phil, Gideon, Steve, Martin, Stewart, Guy, Joe, An, Dean, Jamie, Will, Andy, Per, Chris, Nicholas, Rob, Connor, Matt, Rosie, Rob, Charles, William, Alex, Thidare, Derek, Aaron

Wandle Cleanup: December 2018: Wandsworth

For the last cleanup of 2018, we headed to King George’s Park in Wandsworth.

This was our first cleanup funded by our fantastic new funders the Big Lottery. Thanks to all the players of the National Lottery that make funding great projects and activities like our Wandle cleanups possible. We couldn’t do it without you!

We started off the day with the usual Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. We then cracked on with wading and litter picking around the banks.

Despite the windy weather, we had 31 merry volunteers – so thank you to everyone who managed to make it at this busy (and cold) time of year!

We removed as much litter as possible from the river, getting to all the tangled plastic bags in the river bed and surrounding vegetation. We found a trolley filled with empty cans that had been dumped into the river and pulled that out easily.

We stopped for lunch around 1pm and enjoyed some well-deserved mince pies and other Christmas cakes. We also squeezed in a Christmas Wandle-themed quiz, reflecting on the good work throughout 2018!

We couldn’t wade much further downstream after lunch as the river was too deep and fast-flowing. Instead, we did a second sweep of the river and found more rubbish that the river had uncovered since our first sweep.

It was getting a bit too chilly and there wasn’t much left to litter pick, so we finished early and headed home for Christmas. 

Here is the final rubbish pile!

So what did we find? 2 tyres, 2 mattresses, a trolley, a pushchair, an old kettle, a wooden pallet, 2 footballs, a traffic cone, lots of bottle, cans and plastic bags. 

I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I look forward to keeping up the great work with everyone in 2019!

Lucy

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event (in particular Dave, Joe and Chris), Rosie and Wally for supervising the Event Tent, Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to our funders, the Big Lottery.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Charles, Michael, Victoria, Thea, Jonathan, Rosalie, Ed, Joe, Phil, Dave, Paul, Jenny, Nick, Jason, Kesra, Rose, Andy, Eddie, Chris, Martin, Per, Phil, David, Steve, Korab, Wayne, Jane, Simon, William and Guy.