Tag Archives: Merton

Wandle cleanup: October 2018: Merton

For our October cleanup we headed to North Road in Merton. This was Jo’s first river cleanup and an eventful one at that, so thank you to everyone for being so welcoming and helpful!

As usual we started off the day with the Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. After a very rainy Saturday night we decided it was sensible for only a few of our more experienced waders to clear the river, so everyone else set off litter picking around the banks, park and roads.

Despite the poor weather we had a great turnout with about 42 volunteers – so thank you for braving it in the wind and rain!

We removed as much litter as possible from the river where it was safe to do so, and lots of litter from the surrounding areas. We found several interesting things, including a pram, half a motorbike, a mattress, a sofa and a chest of drawers.

We stopped for lunch around 12.30 and took shelter from the rain under the gazebo. Big thanks to Wally for bringing along the delicious pumpkin pie and to the mysterious individual who baked the chocolate brownies!

We couldn’t continue wading after lunch as the river had become too deep and fast-flowing thanks to the continuous rain. Instead, we litter picked around the park and the surrounding area. Initially we thought the area was fairly clean but as we looked further and deeper, it turned out there was lots of litter picking that needed to be done.

Here is the final rubbish pile!

So what did we find? 4 tyres, a mattress, sofa, half a motorbike, a trolley, a chest of drawers, a rocking chair, a pushchair, a toy kitchen, a bouncy ball, a fence, a bench, a food waste bin, a basket, a cone, a chair, lots of bottles, rugs and plastic.  

On a more serious note… While community groups like ourselves can make a massive difference, the government and large companies, like supermarkets, are largely responsible for tackling the issues with plastic waste. We can and should all use our voices to pressure our local council and supermarket to phase out the selling of single-use plastic.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Rosie and Wally for supervising the Event Tent, and Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day and to our funders, Tesco!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Eleanor, John, Lia, Farrah, Maddi, Eric, Elliott, Wally, Rosie, Chris E, Swzen, William, Martin, Tom, Andy, Wayne, Billy, Chris H, Cuba, Kaori, Elizabeth, Duma, Per, Guy, Jamie, Nick, Jonny, James, Mark, Michika, Luke, Raphael, Dave, Lynda, Paul, J, Nicholas, Rob, Derek, Aaron, Charles and Sue!

See you next month!

Lucy and Jo

Wandle cleanup: September 2018: Merton

For September we headed to Waterside Way in Merton. 

This cleanup is part of Wandle Fortnight – a two-week celebration of all things Wandle. Find out what other events are on offer here. 

 

Sadly, this month we said goodbye to Hannah who is off to Canada in a few weeks’ time. So a BIG thank you to Hannah for running the events these past few months, and all the best for Canada. On happier news, we also welcomed Jo, our new Cleanup Contractor who will have her first official cleanup next month!

As we had visited this site about 6 months ago, we were hoping to find less rubbish. However, as we drove up the road towards the site we could see that the litter pickers would definitely have their hands full, and as soon as we got in the river, we realised the waders would too!

Before we got started, we kicked off the day in the usual style, with a Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. Once work began, it was not long until large items were being pulled out and the list kept growing…

…we found 4 tyres – a whole set!

A metal fence, which took four strong volunteers to carry it back down the path to the rubbish pile. It must have taken some real effort to get this into the river.

A toilet seat / photo frame

A beer keg – which unfortunately was not full of beer

We also came across some of the local wildlife – eels! Here is one of the bigger ones that we saw. But we quickly released him gently back into the Wandle.

We found a lot of heavy items, so thank you to all the volunteers for your hard work and continued enthusiasm throughout. I bet your muscles ached on Monday!

So what did we find?
A camera, broomstick, lots of carpets, 3 bicycles, a sleeping bag, wallet, 4 tyres, a duvet, 2 bicycle tyres, a washing machine motor, lots of gutters, a golf ball, a fishing rod, a metal fence, a toilet seat, a children’s bicycle, lawnmower, scooter, coconut, epi-pen, ID, oyster card, shopping trolley, baby walker, chairs, sink, table, silt trap/drain bucket, strimmer, 2 saucepans and an umbrella.

All of this was just some of the more unusual items we collected amongst many cans, plastic bottles, wet wipes, food wrappers and other items of litter in the river.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent, Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day and to our funders, Tesco!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:  Derek, Lucy, David, Aaron, Nick, Phil, David, Emily, Andy, Paul, Wayne, Thea, Madeleine, Sheila, Rosie, Frank, Phil, Rhianna, Nicholas, Charles, Caitlin, Paddy, Kaori, Grace, Anna, Brigid, Kaiden, Steve, Martin, Janet, Will, Simon, William, John, Per, Steve and Chris.

See you next month!

Hannah, Lucy and Joanna

Giving eels a helping hand on the Wandle

In 2017, we delivered the Wandle Eel Project in partnership with the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Environment Agency, Zoological Society London (ZSL), National Trust, and Wandsworth Borough Council.

Why?

European eels (Anguilla anguilla) once thrived in London’s rivers but the number of young joining the adult populations have dropped by over 95% since the 1980s and the species has been classified as ‘Critically Endangered’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species since 2008.

One of the major threats to eels in freshwater are barriers to upstream migration such as weirs and sluice gates that reduce the amount of habitat available for eels to grow and mature.

What’s been going on?

This project aimed to improve eel passage along the Wandle by installing eel passes at six locations where structures were a complete or partial barrier to migration. All installations were completed by Wandle Trust staff and assisted by local volunteers.

1. In June 2017, the existing eel pass at Morden Hall Park was repaired, extended and fitted with a monitoring trap. This site was then used by ZSL to train local volunteers, and National Trust staff to monitor elver migration along the Wandle.

2. The Topps Tiles tiles site in Earlsfield was delivered in December 2017 (in the snow), which included a row of lift out eel tiles with upstream deflector, and a section of low profile bed tiles on an adjacent channel. This site was testing the improved steel brackets which were fabricated by a local contractor/volunteer. These installations were designed as ‘easements’ to allow eels to navigate the fast flowing sections of the heavily modified concrete channels. Two old, defunct eel passes were disassembled and removed from site.

3. The Trewint Street easement was installed in December 2017, and consisted of a 30 m section of the new ‘low profile’ bed tiles that were commissioned for this project, with a short section of flexible bristles to navigate over a 300 mm wooden baulk at the upstream end.  This has provided an additional route up the left hand channel which offers a less turbulent route than the fish pass in the right hand channel.

4. The eel pass at EDF was installed during Dec 2017/Jan 2018 with a 15 m section of ‘low profile’ bed tiles. As some high tides overtop the weir, these works were designed to increase the range of time/tides that this structure would be passable to elvers.

5. Improvements to an existing eel pass upstream of Ravensbury Park were installed in March 2018. An extension piece was added at the upstream end to prevent debris blockages. At the downstream end, a deflector plate was added to reduce turbulence, and four standard bed tiles were installed to direct eels towards the pass entrance.

6. This gravity fed eel pass was installed on a small side channel near Poulter Park in March 2018. This was a cheaper and more secure alternative to a pass that had previously been stolen.

We would like to give a huge thanks to all our volunteers who helped install these passes and those who are continuing to monitor eel numbers during the current season!

Wandle cleanup: May 2018: Merton

The one with the prehistoric trolley… 

For May’s cleanup we headed to Plough Lane in Merton – a site we hadn’t visited for over a year.

The day started in the usual way, with a Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. It wasn’t long until we were trekking down the Wandle Trail to get into the river and start the rubbish hunt.

It was a sunny, spring day and the vegetation along the banks was a gloriously green backdrop to our wading party. Within half an hour, the first item was found – a car seat!

As the day continued, Plough Lane gave us some equally interesting finds including a briefcase…

…A ukulele – nice playing Phil!

…A drone…

And perhaps my favourite find – a Pokeball. I had always wanted one growing up and this was my lucky day!

By lunch time we were all gasping for a drink and headed back to the tent for a break and some lunch.

In the afternoon, the wading team found a couple of challenges to keep themselves busy. The first was a trolley which, by the state of it, had been in the Wandle for many, many years.

The second was a bicycle – again buried so deep in the silt we were not sure what it was for about half an hour!

To finish the day we found a scooter and used it to head all the way back to the tent to pack up.

So what did we find?  1 trolley, 1 scooter, 1 jumper, 1 drone, 1 bicycle, 1 child bike, 1 washing line, 1 till, 1 licence plate, 1 dinosaur (and no I didn’t keep this one), 1 car mat, 3 dust sheets, a hessian bag full of rubble, 8 carpets and bags and bags of other junk.

Huge thanks everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent, and Merton Council for organising the collection of all the rubbish the next day and to our funders, Tesco!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:    Alice, Andy, Annabelle, Becky, Beth, Bridget, Caitlin, Carol, Charles, Chris, Claire, Dave, Dave , Derek, Ed, Edward, Eiryn, Ethan, Garth, Gideon, Guy, Jim, Joanne, John, Kory, Lloyd, Madeline, Martin, Mevan, Michael, Paddy, Paul, Penny, Per, Phil R, Phil S, Rose, Sarah, Sheila, Simon, Steve, Stewart, Sue, Thomas, Toby, Tom, Wally and William.

Wandle cleanup: March 2018: Merton

The Great British Spring Clean 2018

Our March event was part of The Great British Spring Clean!

The Rivers Trusts joined Keep Britain Tidy in assembling an army of #litterheroes for a UK wide mass cleanup. Did you know 80% of plastic in the oceans comes from land, and rivers are a significant pathway for it to get there? Well that is why in March this year, rivers trusts up and down the country held volunteer events to help clean up our rivers and beaches. So we stepped up on the Wandle!

The day started in the usual way, with a Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing, and after that, our Litter Heroes set off to clear Waterside Way in Merton.

We have cleaned this site a fair few times now, and we always find large carpets, and today was no exception. We hauled this one out at the beginning of the event, and there were more to come.

Parts of a car started to emerge as well, such as tyres, a car bonnet …

.. an exhaust pipe…

And the car seat….

We have no idea if these were all from the same car, or bits of several different ones!

A computer keyboard was found so I could start writing this blog on site.

And a new toy for myself, a little squid which I took home and kept.

At lunchtime we were all starving, so we all headed back to eat our lunches, cake and warm up a bit with tea and coffee.

In the afternoon, some more great finds were discovered.

A razor shell…

A sad teddy bear

And a fyke net!

So what did we find?  1 fyke net, 1 tennis racket, 1 scooter, 1 walking stick, 1 Christmas tree, 1 sink, 1 squid toy, 1 car bonnet, 1 exhaust pipe, 1 toilet seat, 1 car seat, 1 sad teddy bear, 2 umbrellas, 2 frying pans, 2 traffic cones, 2 coconuts, 3 hoovers, 3 carpets, 3 wooden fencing posts (1 with its concrete base), 3 radios, 5 tyres, bits of several small kids’ bikes, bags and bags and bags of rubbish – I think we got through 120 sacks at least!

Huge thanks everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent, and the Waste Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day and to our funders, Tesco!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:   Aaron, Andy, Benit, Chris E, Chris S, Daniel, Dave, David, Derek, Ed, Eddie, Frank, Gideon, Guy, Ian, Jamie, Jane, Joanne, Joe, John, Johnny, Madeline, Neil, Nick, Patrick, Paul, Penny, Per, Phil R, Phil S, Rory, Rose, Sheila, Simon, Steve B, Steve Mc, Steve M, Stewart, Su, Thomas, Tom, Wally and William.

Wandle cleanup: November 2017: Merton

The one where the police were called on us…

On a cold November morning, I arrived at North Road, Wimbledon to set up for this month’s Wandle cleanup. As I was unloading the van with a couple of helpers, a police car pulled up.

Although we knew we’d done nothing wrong, we were slightly nervous as they approached. It turned out that someone had reported fly-tipping from a Zip Van, and the police had come to check it out, only to find the Wandle Trust setting up our event to tackle fly-tipping.

So that was ironic – but if you’re reading this, and you were the person who made that call – thank you for caring so much about keeping the Wandle Valley clean, and don’t stop making those calls if you see anything suspicious!

With that all sorted, and no one arrested, I gathered our 45 volunteers to take a two minute silence for Remembrance Sunday, and then got our cleanup started.

This is the first event supported by the Tesco Bags of Help Fund which offers community groups and projects across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags.

Our project, Wombles of the Wandle, was successful in receiving £2,000 after coming second in the public vote. The money will be used to run two Wandle cleanups in the Merton area and to replace some equipment such as gloves.  So a big thanks to all who voted for us. We have already put the money to good use…

To get started, we headed down to the footbridge by Garfield Recreation Park and got in to the Wandle to work upstream. The water was much deeper than usual, with poor visibility. This was due to heavy rainfall overnight, and some natural woody material which had fallen in the river, creating some excellent new habitats for fish in what was previously quite a straight, uniform channel.

While we loved the new additions to the channel, it did make our event a bit harder, with logs and bits of tree to navigate over, and deeper water. In fact, in some places it was so deep we had to get out and walk along the bank until the level had dropped.

Despite the additional challenges, rubbish was found. We cleared 15 bags of plastic bottles which had accumulated near one tree trunk..

We found the token Wandle coconuts too, as well as a green pepper, carved pumpkin and apples…

We also found this commemorative mug from Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding.

By lunch time we were freezing and headed back to the tent for tea and cakes, as well as some delicious savoury snacks made for us by the students from the Richmond International University. However, we didn’t stop for long as the weather wasn’t getting any warmer and it was better to be moving than standing still.

After lunch, we headed under the North Road bridge and continued upstream. Again, the water was deep and murky, but we found a few things which made our trip worthwhile, including a sofa…

A Merton Council waste bin…

And a bike.

With 500 m of the Wandle covered in this cleanup, we called it a day and all went home to defrost.

So what did we find?  1 carved pumpkin, 1 green pepper, 1 step ladder, 1 computer chair, 1 Vishnu statue, 1 Prince Charles & Princess Diana mug, 1 piece of guttering, 1 shopping basket, 1 bicycle, 1 tyre, 1 bike wheel, 1 wheelchair, 1 mattress, 1 duvet, 1 Merton Council waste bin, 1 sofa, 2 wooden pallets, 10 coconuts, 15 tennis balls, 15 bags of plastic bottles and bags and bags of other junk.

Huge thanks everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Wally for supervising the Event Tent, the students from Richmond International University for baking such yummy treats and the Waste Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day and to our funders, Tesco!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:   Aaron, Alec, Andrew, Andy, Beth, Carl, Charles, Chris, Christine, Claire, Dave, David, Derek, Emily , Fahad, George, Guy, Hayley, Ian, James L, James T, Jayne, Joe, John, Kai, Karoline, Korab, Lisa, Michael D, Michael O, Mickeif, Nick, Per, Phil R, Phil S, Rolanas, Sheila, Steve, Stewart, Thea, Thomas, Wally, Wayne and Will.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup? Tick off all the equipment as you pack the van so you don’t have to drive back to site at 5pm and dig through the rubbish pile to find the missing Wandle Trust flag. I looked like a crazy person…

Wandle cleanup: August 2017: Merton

The one with Nick Hale…

Apologies for the slight delay with our August cleanup blog – but we went from the cleanup straight to some river restoration in Morden Hall Park – it’s been a busy couple of weeks! You’ll be able to read about that adventure soon, but on with the cleanup…

August saw us return to Waterside Way in Wimbledon. This site is still full of rubbish and will be a regular site for some time to come considering how little distance we manage to cover each time. We were joined this month by Nick Hale, another Wandle Trust Project Officer who came along to experience our famous cleanups. After the usual health and safety briefing, we got stuck in.

The waders got in the river just upstream of where we finished back in March. As they filled their first trug load, my team on the bank were getting bored, waiting for something to do. I suggested they enjoyed the peace while it lasted – this was Waterside Way, after all!

And like clockwork, trug after trug was filled and the bank team soon missed the easy start they had.

The first large find was a lorry/bus tyre, shortly followed by 5 other car tyres.

Next, a bicycle was found. Not in great condition, but as Nick still doesn’t have a bike for his London to Brighton cycle ride (raising money for the Wandle, you can sponsor him here), it might be the best he’s gonna get!

A few minutes later, I was given perhaps the creepiest gift from the Wandle yet – this doll.

After a quick lunch break, we moved further upstream, but only by 10 or so metres. Here we found the classic coconut.

Some toys, including a scooter and steering wheel

And some large carpets which were extremely heavy as we pulled them up the bank.

After 4 hours of hard work, we finally called it a day and packed up the van.

So what did we find?  1 licence plate, 1 Frozen scooter, 1 road barrier, 1 moped pannier, 1 dashboard, 1 lighting rig, 1 bike, 1 creepy doll, 1 cassette tape, 1 lorry tyre, 1 traffic cone, 1 disposable BBQ, 2 coconuts, 2 stereos, 2 large carpets, 3 toy cars, 5 car mats, 5 tyres, lots and lots of miscellaneous fabric and bags and bags of other rubbish.

Huge thanks everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent and for helping me and Nick back at the garage, and the Waste Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

A a big thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Abdul, Andy, Beth, Carlos, Charles, Christine, Claire, David H, David S, Derek, Freya, Geoff, Gideon, Guy, Jane, Joanne, John N, Kathy, Keith, Lisa, Mark B, Melanie, Nick, Paul, Phil, Rob, Rose, Sheila, Steve B, Stewart, Sue, Thomas, Wally and Will.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup? Waterside Way is going to take us a while to clear…

Wandle cleanup: March 2017: Merton

The one where we barely moved 15 metres!

For March we headed to Waterside Way – a site we started to tackle last year and only managed to move 10 m before we had filled a rubbish lorry! This time was no different…

One by one, everyone arrived on site and then after the Health & Safety briefing we got started. We headed downstream to where we finished the last time we tackled this site. As soon as we arrived we saw the opposite bank was covered in rubbish and we just couldn’t leave it that way. Waders got in, waded across the Wandle and then climbed up the bank to tackle the fly-tipping.

Fly tipping on the Wandle Bank

It didn’t take long before the bank support team was overwhelmed with rubbish and we had to gather extra recruits from the litter picking team.

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One of the first big finds was a roller. Although very heavy, it was designed to roll and so getting it up the bank couldn’t be too difficult, right? Turns out, yes it could!

Roller

Next, a mattress was found in the Wandle which proved trouble for the waders and bank support alike. Having absorbed so much water and silt, the mattress was extremely heavy and getting it up the bank revetment and then up the steep bank was near impossible.

mattress

Derek used his magical powers to sense rubbish hidden below the silt. With everyone on the rope, the mystery object was pulled free and the trolley was heaved by the bank. Shame the wheels didn’t work to get it back to the rubbish pile!

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At lunchtime we headed back to the tent for some cake and drink, as well as shelter from the rain. We had some lovely homemade cakes which went down a treat. With the rain not stopping, we decided to get back to the river and finish what we’d started.

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After lunch, Derek found yet another trolley deep under the silt. With several people on the rope, we managed to pull this one free and get it up the steep bank as well.

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Another challenging find was this metal water tank/safe – full of silt and very difficult to attach the ropes to!

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At the end of the day everyone was wet, the rubbish pile was sky high and so we called it a day for another Wandle cleanup.

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So what did we find?  1 mattress, 1 roller, 1 jump lead, 1 safe, 1 coconut, 1 skateboard, 1 back of a TV, 1 computer monitor, 1 flatbed trolley, 1 tape player, 1 traffic cone, 2 trolleys, 3 bike tyres, 4 car tyres, 7 carpets, 10 car mats, lots of piping and wood, many, many plant pots and much more rubbish.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Ann for supervising the Event Tent and for baking some treats, and the Waste Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

We’d also like to say a big thank you to Richard from The Burly Photographer, who came and took some great photos of our event!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:  Aaron, Abbas, Andy, Ann, Anna G, Anna H, Bhadresh, Charles, Chris, Claire O, Claire W, Dave, David, Derek, Doris, Ed, Felix, Grayatri, Guy, Jane, Jason, Jiya, John, Lisa, Lucinda, Maciek, Merel, Mike, Natasha, Per, Phil, Richard, Rob, Sheila, Sonny, Steph, Stewart, Trevor, Uri, Varshan, Ved, Victor, Vishali, Wally, Will H and Will W.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?   That if you forget your coat and it rains, a bin bag makes an excellent waterproof.

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Wandle cleanup: October 2016: Merton

The one where the rubbish didn’t stop coming

For our October cleanup we ventured to a new site for myself, but one that had been done in the past when Erica ran the cleanups – Waterside Way.

Waterside Way is the half way point between Plough Lane and Merton High Street, meaning we could clean further down the Plough Lane stretch than we had reached before. The fact that we hadn’t been there for a number of years was very obvious once we got started…

The wading team walked 100 m downstream and got into the river. Instantly, large items were found and piled up on the side – the bank support team didn’t stand a chance!

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Shopping baskets, bed springs, carpets, car seats, car bumpers – all within a stretch less than 10 m long.

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The rubbish came out so fast that we ended up asking some waders to hope out and help shift the rubbish from the bank to the rubbish pile back on Waterside Way.

Perhaps the “Find of the Day” was our creepy baby manikin – just in time for Halloween…

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By lunchtime, everyone was exhausted and so we headed back to base for some tea and carrot cake (kindly baked for us by Ann). Even creepy baby joined us for some tea.

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After lunch, we got back to it. With so much rubbish coming out, we were glad for the extra help from students from Richmond International University University – helping us ferry the rubbish back to base.

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Throughout the cleanup, carpets were the most prominent find with over 20 found in our short 50 m stretch. These took a lot of man power to get out as they had become part of the river bed, trapping silt and allsorts.

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At the end of the day, everyone got out on the banks and helped to carry the surplus of rubbish back to the pile. And what a pile it was!

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So what did we find? 1 flymo, 1 bed spring, 1 hanging basket, 1 creepy baby manikin, 1 shoe, 1 clothes horse, 1 lino sample book, 1 car bumper, 1 keyboard, 1 mop, 1 dustbin, 1 cooker hob, 1 TV, 1 tyre, 1 bicycle frame and tyre, 1 giant pipe, 2 hose pipes, 2 car seats, 2 shopping baskets, 2 microwaves, 2 toasters, 4 stereos, 3 traffic cones, 3 umbrellas, 15 spray glue cans, 20+ carpets and piles and piles of wood planks and other rubbish.

We also saw an eel and a frog!

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, Dave and Louise for supervising the Event Tent, Wally for helping supervise the cleanup, and the Waste Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Alex, Alison, Amelia, Andy, Ann, Charles, Cheyenne, Chris, Claire, Danny, Dave, David, Davis, Ed, Gary, Guy, Jane, Jason, Julia, Kaitlynn, Kamillah, Keith, Kristina, Louise, Marley, Nick, Niyin, Phil, Richard, Rob, Shivani, Steve, Stewart, Sue, Thima, Wally, Wayne, Will and William.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?  That our cleanup effort was just the start, we will need to come back to Waterside Way!

Wandle cleanup: September 2016: Merton

The one with a record number of people

On a sunny, September morning 85 volunteers gathered at Wandle Meadow Nature Park on North Road in Merton for another Wandle cleanup.

Yes, you read that right – 85!!!

Why so many? Well our numbers were larger than normal we were joined by 25 fresh recruits from the Richmond International University. We were also lucky enough to have our ZipCar team again from last year, no floating pennywort for them to tackle this time though.

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After the safety talk, 85 of us got to work. We had a large wading team which headed right to the end of the park as with so many people we were sure we could cover the distance.

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Once again, large amounts of rubbish started coming out but with plenty of hands on the bank we made light work of it.

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One logistical challenge was a large piece of metal which would not fit in a wheelbarrow. So a chain of 8 people took turns carrying it over the bridge to the rubbish pile, with all the other wheelbarrows of junk too.

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As we worked up the river, there was no shortage of rubbish. We found Iggle Piggle, lawnmowers, coffee tables and tyres.

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Given we had only been at the site in March, there was a lot of rubbish to find! By lunch time we were exhausted so it was time to stop for cake and tea. A big thank you to Rebecca Watts (Programme Manager for the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership) for nipping to buy emergency cake rations – I had not catered for the feeding of the 5000…

After lunch, we had to change our plan of heading further upstream due to the discovery of an aggressive wasp nest. So instead we headed back and gave the river a second sweep to double check we got everything. Which being the Wandle, of course we hadn’t!

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And sure enough, there was more to find. After covering the stretch twice we called it a day and started to pack up the van.

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So what did we find? 1 shoe, 1 oar, 1 dinghy, 1 BB gun, 1 mini skateboard, 1 full size skateboard, 1 strimmer, 1 lawnmower, 1 motorbike chassis, 1 bike, 3 traffic cones,  3 disposable BBQs, 5 tyres, 7 items of clothing, loads of planks of wood, a pair of Rayburn sunglasses (and lots of the usual unidentifiable mixed rubbish!)

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, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent, Wally for helping supervise the cleanup, and the Waste Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aaron, Abi, Alex B, Alex S, Andrew, Andy, Anya, Ben C, Ben C, Ben W, Berengere, Carol , Caroline, Charles, Chloe Chris E, Christine, Claire, Conor, Dave J, David C, David H, Derek, Diana, Dimal, Emma, Fumbi, Gearoid, ,Gemma, Guy, Ida, Jackie, Jay, Joanna, John, Kaia, Kaitlynn, Kamillah, Katelyn, Kaylee, Kevin, Kristina, Kyra, Leah, Louise, Madison, Mark, Mel, Merel, Michelle, Mike, Miriah, Nick, Nicki, Nina, Patrick, Peggy, Per, Reagor, Renah, Rob, Rory, Rosie, Sabina, Sally, Samantha, Samira, Shannon, Shela, Shelby, Si, Sophie, Steve B, Steve M, Stewart, Theo, Tom C, Tom K, Tony, Tyler, Wally and Wayne. Phew!

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?  That you never know how many people will fancy joining a Wandle cleanup on the day. So prepare for 80….

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