Author Archives: Jess Mead

Update from the Trust

The Wandle Trust is part of the South East Rivers Trust (SERT), an environmental charity which aims to deliver healthy river ecosystems (for all) across the south east of England.

We started out on the River Wandle – a much loved chalkstream in south London. We held 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.

Now SERT works across 12 different river catchments covering parts of South London, Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey, East Sussex and Kent. We host Catchment Partnerships across all these catchments, bringing stakeholders together to work towards improving our rivers for both people and wildlife. SERT is also delivering many exciting River Restoration, Water Resource Management and Natural Flood Management projects across our whole area.

Our volunteering activities are currently mainly based in South London along the Hogsmill, Beverley Brook and Wandle – not only carrying out river clearance but vegetation management, river restoration and invasive species management.

Volunteers form a huge part of what we do as a Trust and their hard work and dedication helps our rivers to flourish. Unfortunately due to the current Covid-19 national lockdown we’ve postponed our planned volunteer events until restrictions ease. But we’re looking forward to donning our waders and seeing all our volunteers again soon.

For more updates on our current projects please visit or sign up to our mailing list for updates on our volunteering opportunities.

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,


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!


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.