Tag Archives: Awards

Award Winning Wandle Restoration

Our rehabilitation work on the Carshalton Arm of the River Wandle recently won the Urban Category of the 2016 UK River Prize – an incredible achievement for all of those involved.

To express our thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way over the last 10 years, we have created a short film. So make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy…

Wandle cleanup: April 2016: Wandsworth

The one with the local chef

For our April cleanup, it was time to venture to an unknown site for myself (but a well-known site for the regulars) – Ravensbury Terrace. This site is the next stop downstream from Trewint Street so we knew there would be plenty to find.

This was a slightly special cleanup as we were being filmed! Our work on the Carshalton Arm of the Wandle had recently won the Urban Category for the UK River Prize and for this we needed to produce a film about the project. One of the most important elements of our project was community engagement and our wonderful volunteers – and the cleanup was the perfect chance to catch them!

After a welcome talk from myself, we all got in the river to film a shot for our video – you’ll be able to watch the full film soon so keep your eyes peeled…

Once that was all wrapped up, the cleanup commenced. The first challenge was getting down to the bank via an upcycled staircase made of wooden pallets – the perfect addition to any fashionable London house. Once down there, we had a narrow path to ferry the rubbish back and forth.

Cleanup 1

To make matters worse, there were several Giant Hogweed plants growing along the path. Giant Hogweed is a nasty invasive plant which can grow up to 5m tall – outshading native vegetation. The plant also produces a toxic sap which can cause chemical burns to the skin following exposure to sunlight. To help prevent anyone having to experience this, Theo Pike covered each plant with its very own traffic cone. We always there would be a use for all the traffic cones we found in the river!

Cleanup 2

The rubbish quickly started appearing, as it always does. A metal drum, traffic cones, push chairs and more.

Cleanup 3

As we worked up the river, we stumbled upon my favourite find of my (almost) two years of cleanups – a chef!

Cleanup 4

As soon as he was safely out of the river, we made sure he was put to good use…

Cleanup 5

Just before lunch, we got close to Trewint Street. On a previous cleanup there we had found a motorbike in the river, but we knew we’d be unable to haul it up the concrete flood walls above the bridge, so we pulled it out of the river and left it here it on the bank. But now it was time for collection.

Cleanup 6

The bike was extremely heavy and the path was very narrow (even narrower with the hogweed plants). Our volunteer first broke the steering lock off the bike, allowing us to move it down the path easier. Two wrecking poles were then used to lift the bike.

Cleanup 7

At the other end, our volunteers built a ramp up the pallet stairs and we all watched and hoped the ramp wouldn’t give way..

But it didn’t, one bike successfully removed. Time for lunch.

We were once again spoilt by the students from the American International University in London, who baked us a very impressive spread of cakes including salted caramel brownies and gooey chocolate cookies.

Cleanup 8

During lunch, we even had time to interview some of our volunteers about the project and how the river in Carshalton has changed.

The cleanup resumed after lunch. A mattress was found and removed with some effort,  together with planks of wood and lots of piping as well.

Cleanup 10

Cleanup 9Trug after trug were filled, emptied and ferried to the rubbish pile.

40 Ravensbury Terrace - Apr 2016

So what did we find?  1 mattress, 1 chef statue, 1 jumper, 1 vase of flowers, 1 robot hand, 1 donkey toy from Shrek (great early birthday present, thank you), 1 motorbike, 1 pushchair, 2 chairs, 3 traffic cones, 6 tyres, lots of plastic piping, lots of planks of wood, bags and bags of bottles, cans and other junk.

Huge thanks to the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership for funding the event as part of the River Guardians projects, everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Dean’s Blinds for hosting us, the students for catering for our volunteers, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent and the Waste Management Team at Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:  Aaron, Alex, Andy ,Barbara, Bella, Brandon, Brian, Charles, Charly, Chris, Daniel, Dave, Denis, Derek, Ed, Eden, Emes, Guy, Ian, Jamie, Jess, Joe, John, Keith, Ken, Lisa, Mark, Matthew, Merel, Miriam, Nick, Olivia, Paul, Penny, Per, Phil, Piper, Rachelle, Rafael, Rob, Rose, Sally Ann, Sara, Steve, Theo, Victor, Victoria, Vittorio, Wally and Wayne.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?   That you can make anything you need from what you find in the Wandle

Logo Banner - HLF

The Wandle’s a Winner!


We’re delighted to announce that we are a category winner in the 2016 UK River Prize. The Carshalton arm of the Wandle has won the ‘Urban Project’ category and is one of four category winners who will now go forward as finalists for the overall river prize.

The overall UK River Prize will be announced at an awards dinner at the River Restoration Centre’s Annual Conference in Blackpool on the 26th April.

You can read the River Restoration Centre’s press release here (UK_River_Prize_Finalists) to see the other category winners and finalists who we’re up against. Each finalist will make a short video about their project which will be shown at the awards dinner.

Keep your fingers crossed!!

Pollution Monitoring on the Wandle: Two Years Later

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost two years since the Wandle Trust teamed up with the Environment Agency to clean up pollution on the River Wandle.

Our Pollution Monitoring Scheme has trained 50 local volunteers to attend and assess Category Three pollution incidents and report back valuable information to us and the Environment Agency.

Another great element to this scheme was regularly monitoring specific outfalls along the Wandle that have been a problem in the past. Volunteers adopted an outfall close to them and checked the site once a week for signs of pollution. This information was fed back to the Environment Agency allowing them to prioritise and investigate key issues.

The pilot scheme has been a huge success demonstrating the value of volunteers in monitoring pollution in an urban environment. Its innovative and collaborative approach earned the scheme the Rivers Trust Award for Science and Innovation in 2013 – a huge achievement for all those involved!

To celebrate this award and the success of the scheme, we invited our dedicated volunteers to Strawberry Lodge in Carshalton for some evening tea, coffee and cake.

Our Volunteers and their Award

The Environment Agency are very grateful to all the volunteers involved and have put together a short piece to summarise what was achieved thanks to their hard work. Click this link to download: Environment-Agency.pdf (138kb).

The scheme is also being rolled out on the Hogsmill and Beverley Brook. If you’re interested in becoming involved, please email us at volunteering@southeastriverstrust.org.


Wandle Pollution Volunteer Project Wins Rivers Trust Award

We are delighted that our Urban Pollution Monitoring project has won the Rivers Trust Award for Science and Innovation.

Bella receives the award from Ivor Lewelyn, Director of the Atlantic Salmon Trust

Bella receives the award from Ivor Lewelyn, Director of the Atlantic Salmon Trust

The project was created in partnership with the Environment Agency (EA) so that trained Wandle Trust volunteers can respond to assess minor pollution incidents in place of EA staff and feed information back into the EA’s National Incident Recording System.

This enables reports of pollution (called in to the EA’s Incident line – 0800 80 70 60) to be attended more quickly and frees up the EA to spend more time on pollution prevention visits. The project has also been extended to include the regular monitoring of known polluting outfalls which has led to greater understanding of the extent of the pollution and a number of these outfalls have been addressed.

Many many thanks to all our wonderful and dedicated Pollution Assessment Volunteers, and also to the very supportive staff at the EA – in particular Kate and Richard. If you’d like to get involved with the project please contact pollution@wandletrust.org.

Photography Competition Winner

Just recently, Sally Ann Symis, volunteer and keen amateur photographer of Wandle cleanups, won a photography competition run by the Cotswold Outdoor Clothing Company and the Wandsworth Guardian. The brief was to capture a scene of outdoor adventure in the London Borough of Wandsworth, so Sally Ann submitted her photograph of our wonderful volunteers hard at work cleaning up the river at Trewint Street.

Not surprisingly, she emerged the winner and went along to the new Cotswold Outdoor Clothing store in Southside’s shopping centre in August to collect her prize – an Aquapac case to keep her camera dry and some vouchers to spend in the store – very appropriate for someone who has trekked to Everest Base Camp and Machu Picchu in the last two years!

Pictured alongside Sally Ann is runner up Orla Higgins whose photograph of her son won second prize:

and the winning photograph:

Update: this story has now been reported in the Wandsworth Guardian!

Linden Lodge wins the Wandle Trust’s Carbon Footprint Competition

Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth Councillor Jane Cooper presents Linden Lodge School with first prize!

Our flagship ecological education project, Trout in the Classroom, has many environmental benefits but we are always looking for new ways of reducing its carbon footprint. Last year we ran a carbon balancing competition for the schools taking part.

Karen Gardiner, from the winning school Linden Lodge reports:

“The brown trout eggs arrived in January and were looked after, as they developed into swim-up fry, for two half terms by Key Stage 3 students. The pupils mostly enjoyed this but their least favourite job was removing the trout faeces or poo as they called it.

The project group estimated that they must have used 81 litres of water during the project. They decided they wanted to get some of this back – and held a special water saving week to try to achieve this. Some of the ideas the pupils came up with for saving water were: 

Don’t sing in the shower! You take longer. But a shower is much better than having a bath for saving water. Our slogan was ‘Sing in the rain – not the shower!’

Use the left over drinking water to water the garden and indoor plants. 

Recycle the old fish water – also very good for plants.

All our water saving endeavours won us the Wandle Trust Carbon Footprint Prize. We decided to put the money towards a specially commissioned tactile wall display of the life cycle of the brown trout to help our visually impaired students understand the process”.

Trout in the Classroom project teacher Launa Randels and a victorious student admire the tactile display.

The display was created by Linda Marshal, an artist who has worked at Linden Lodge for many years supporting young people with a visual impairment. She has used this experience to produce a range of tactile pictures which bring life and meaning to children who have complex needs. Karen continues:

“Linda is really inspirational in the way she gives children tactile awareness and helps them navigate their world. When people visit the school they see children exploring their environment with her tactile references. Much of Linda’s work is unique to Linden Lodge. She uses everyday materials in an imaginative and creative way and her use of colour, shape and texture makes objects come alive which stimulates children to feel, touch and smell.

We really want to thank everyone who took part in our water-saving week and helped us to win the Wandle Trust’s Carbon Footprint Prize!”

About Linden Lodge School
Linden Lodge School provides a high quality educational experience and support for pupils with a visual impairment or multi-disabled visual impairment which affects their access to learning. The school also supports pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties.  Linden Lodge has been recognised as a specialist regional resource and caters for children aged 3 to 19. The school is situated in Wimbledon.

Wandle Riverfly monitoring: walking Tall with the TRRT’s new award

Here on the Wandle, we never forget how much of our vital work would be impossible without the time, energy and commitment of so many of our volunteers.

So we’re always delighted to see their efforts recognised on the wider environmental stage.  And over the past few days, we’ve been thrilled to see the spotlight turn to the Wandle’s cell of the national Riverfly Partnership’s Anglers’ Monitoring Initiative – and our local co-ordinator Will Tall.

Last Monday evening, during an Association of Rivers Trusts conference and awards ceremony at the London Wetland Centre in Barnes, Will became the first recipient of the Thames River Restoration Trust’s prestigious new John S Hills Memorial Award.


The Wandle’s monthly Riverfly monitoring programme is run by the Wandle Piscators as part of the Living Wandle project.  Read more about Will’s award and the Riverfly programme itself on our sister fishing club’s site

… and if you’re already a volunteer and would like to follow in Will’s footsteps by getting more involved in running our charitable, educational and environmental activities, why not get in touch?

We’re currently developing our programmes in all these areas, and would love to hear from you!

To download our full press release about the John S Hills Memorial Award, please click here.

Update: Will’s award has now been reported in the local Wimbledon Guardian and other Wandle Valley papers in the Guardian group.

Wandle cleanup: August 2009: Wandsworth

The one with the winner of the Golden Grapple…

For the first time in at least a couple of years, this month’s cleanup brought us back to the river at Kimber Road in Wandsworth: a very public part of the Wandle Trail, where the Wandle is tightly canalised between King George’s Park and private gardens backing onto the river.


Sainsbury’s seemed to have lost a few more shopping trolleys since we were last here…



… and maybe the Council was missing a lamp-post too: certainly that’s what it looked like as our unstoppable heavy brigade dredged it from the depths…


… and manhandled it over the park fence:


At coffee time we applauded the recipient of our famous Golden Grapple, the Wandle Trust’s award for the volunteer who’s gone furthest beyond the call of duty to help our aims and objectives this year.

Sue Bailey was our worthy winner…


… having met us for the first time when she was Lady Mayoress of Sutton (unhesitatingly climbing into waders, mayoral chain and all, to help us grapple rubbish out of Beddington Park Lake), she’s now a regular cleanup volunteer, gravel washer and egg delivery co-pilot for our Trout in the Classroom programme.  A true Wandle trouper if ever there was one!

Until 3pm we worked our way steadily upstream, ferrying lots of litter and heavy metal back down the footpath to make another amazingly large pile for our friends from Wandsworth Council



 … but the Wandle still had a final surprise in store, an antique boiler buried under the bridge which no-one could resist heaving back the way it must have come – up the bank and then, with one monumental effort, over the railings…


 … before gratefully retiring to the Old Sergeant on Garrett Lane for a rehydrating pint or three!

Thanks to all our volunteers: Alan, Andy B, Ann, Ben, Ben S, Brin, Carol, Chris, Debbie, Diana, Douglas, Erica, Faure, Gabrielle, Henry, Ian, Jane, Jo L, Jo S, John O’B, Keith, Ken, Luko, Marie, Mark, Mark McL, Matt, Mike, Neil, Nick, Paul, Phil, Rachel, Rob, Robert, Rory, Sally, Sally Ann, Sue, Theo and Tom

Theo Pike: Sage Conservation Hero 2009

Here on the Wandle, amidst the daily muck and bullets of urban river restoration, it’s safe to say that the glamour moments don’t happen often.

So when the years you’ve been putting into this poor little river are suddenly up there in the global limelight with the work of organisations like Orri Vigfusson’s North Atlantic Salmon Fund… that’s a cause for celebration!


Sage is one of the most conservation-minded fishing tackle manufacturers in the world, sponsoring many heavy-hitting river restoration efforts including the Wild Trout Trust. (And so every tackle-maker should be, because when all the habitats have been permanently trashed, and the fish are gone, even the world’s most beautiful fishing rods and reels suddenly won’t seem so useful or desirable any more!)

In this sort of context, it’s an amazing honour for me to add to last year’s Bernard Venables Award from the Wild Trout Trust, and join fellow Trustees Gideon with his Wandsworth Green Guardian Award, and Gill with her Change the World Award…

by being hailed by Sage as one of their 6 worldwide Conservation Heroes for 2009.

Here’s what Sage say about our favourite river and its ongoing recovery in their website and catalogue, written in time for last autumn’s trade shows:

South London’s River Wandle, historically revered for its crystalline, trout-filled waters and quite probably the birthplace of the dry fly, did not survive modern times.  By the 1970s, its polluted, toxic streambed was officially classified as “open sewer.”

Today, Theo Pike, Chairman of the Wandle Trust, is working to restore this classic English chalkstream to its former glory and inspire people everywhere to invest in their local, urban watersheds. Together with the Wild Trout Trust, the Wandle Trust runs educational “Trout in the Classroom” programs, rebuilds habitat and partners with local councils and the water company in their restoration efforts.

And at least once a month, Theo and a band of brave volunteers don waders to remove shopping carts, sofas, motorbikes and the occasional firearm from the Wandle.   These efforts are not without their rewards.

“Last New Year’s Eve,” Theo reports, “we saw trout spawning here for the first time in nearly 100 years.”

With my deepest thanks to Sage, what else can I say but this: it’s an honour just to be seen in such committed company. 

And it’s a downright source of pride to be working with everyone here on the Wandle.

 Now, when’s our next cleanup?