Monthly Archives: December 2009

Wandle cleanup: December 2009: Merton

The one when we were sponsored by…

Buff logo_160x160

For the first time ever, this was a Wandle Trust cleanup sponsored by an outdoor company: Original Buff, makers of multifunctional headwear who’d been introduced to us by Laneo, a global initiative connecting people, brands and environmental groups so that they can support each other in cleaning up the planet.

(A most excellent idea, we’d have to agree!)

health and safety briefing

Maybe it was just another mark of favour from the gods of outdoor wholesale… but following the wettest November on record, the middle Wandle was running mercifully low and clear by the time we met in Merton between Plough Lane and the Graveney confluence.

all in the river

During past cleanups we’d already addressed a stretch just upstream, so this was a move down into previously-untackled territory.  

And it showed, with at least three eel-filled (yes, really) motorbikes lurking just below the surface…

pulling up bike

all together now

bike over railings 3

… besides a car seat and rolling acres of carpet…

car seat


… and even a mangled collection of bicycles, still securely padlocked together but now carefully stripped of all parts that weren’t

Sarah with bikes

As befitted our Christmas cleanup, Guinness cake and mince pies met with a rapturous reception at coffee time:

Guinness cake

mince pies

Inspired by Jo, even the gazebo had a festive air…

Christmas bells

… so somehow no-one was surprised when Santa bobbed to the surface of the river shortly afterwards, hard on the heels of last month’s warbling leprechaun (though, of the two, St Nick looked rather the worse for wear):

Erica and Santa

All the way to dusk, the trolleys and barrows of rubbish just kept coming…

trolley of rubbish

wheelbarrow of rubbish

trolley with pipes

… until we finally wrapped up with a triumphant team photo beside several tonnes of waterlogged rubbish, all from just 50m of river…

team photo

… and a general exodus for well-deserved Christmas pints at the popular Leather Bottle!


Thanks to all our volunteers: Allan, Andy B, Andy K, Anna, Carol, Carolyn, Dave, Diana, Dominic, Erica, Felix, Forrest, Gideon, Henry, James F, James Y, Jamie, Jane, Jason, Jo H, Jo S, Justin, Ken, Max, Mike H, Mike S, Natasha, Neil, Nick M, Nick S, Nico, Olivia, Paul, Peter, Rigby, Rob, Roger, Rory, Sally, Sarah, Sihong, Sue B, Sue V, and Theo

… as well as Merton Council – and of course Original Buff and Laneo – for generously supporting our efforts.

Vote for the Wandle in Croydon

The London Borough of Croydon is asking the public to vote for their favourite park in Croydon.  A total of £1.5 million will be divided up between the top choices and you’ll be able to have a say in how that money is spent. You don’t have to be a Croydon resident to vote but each person can only vote once.

Wandle Park, Croydon

We are hoping that Wandle Park will be amongst the winners as the funding will help to bring the River Wandle, which is currently culverted under the park, back to the surface.  Some money has already been secured for this (e.g. through the Mayor’s Parks’ funding) but more is needed for it to become a reality. 

Wandle Park from the Air

There are other parks along the Wandle and its tributary the Norbury Brook (Norbury Park, Thornton Heath Recreation Ground and Waddon Ponds) and we would like to encourage people voting for these parks to suggest that any winnings include plans to improve the river or brook.

You can read more about the ‘Parks to be Proud of’ competition and place your vote here before 24th December.

Safes in the Wandle: Erica’s girl power helps the story run and run!

On the eve of what promises to be a chilly December cleanup, it’s warming to see that the London Evening Standard has noticed our efforts…


… and interviewed Wandle Trustee and Cleanup Co-ordinator Erica Evans (yes, that’s her on the right in the fetching fluorescent jacket) for their latest Looking after London column, entitled We’ve found five safes dumped in the Wandle:

“The River Wandle flows near my home in south west London so when I decided to get involved in something to do with the environment, I chose to support the Wandle Trust…

I think that people now know and realise that green spaces are good for people and our environment and to have a living thing flowing through an urban part of London is something that is significant and important. If only we could stop people chucking rubbish into the river.

During our November cleanup alone we found seven motor bikes and five safes – one with a hole blown in the back of it! – as well as tyres, traffic signs, carpets and a mass of other rubbish.”

Click here to read Erica’s full interview… and wrap up warm for our Christmas cleanup tomorrow!