Tag Archives: North Road

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.


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.


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


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.


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


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!


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.


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….


Wandle cleanup: January 2015: Merton

The one with the grabber lorry

With Sunday 11th bring the second Sunday of January – it was time for the first Wandle Trust cleanup of 2015.  Last year, we pulled out 8.5 tonnes of rubbish from the River Wandle – and we are keen to break this record in the next 12 months.

We started 2015 in Merton on North Road and as usual we got started after a Health & Safety briefing. We had 38 volunteers with us on a sunny but chilly Sunday morning – as well as our faithful supervising dog, Basher.


We split into two teams – waders and litter pickers. Our wading team hopped in the river and worked upstream finding all sorts of rubbish. It didn’t take long before they scouted out some “challenges” including a buried water tank which took grapples and some serious muscles to heave out of the river.

Water Tank

Soon our litter pickers returned having scouted out the park and surrounding area. They had discovered 3 trolleys further upstream and a giant piece of plastic roofing wedged by a tree downstream; both of which our wading team just couldn’t resist!

The trolleys were relatively simple – muscles and grapples – with all three trolleys in relatively good nick so we could push them (or hitch a ride in them) back to the rubbish pile.


The plastic roof sheeting was another story. Roughly 3 metres wide and 5 metres long, the sheet was awkward and heavy to pull out of the river and disentangle from the undergrowth on the banks. However once free, all it took was a couple of huskies to pull the sheet back up the hill to the rubbish pile. Woof woof!

Plastic Roof


After hauling this sheet up the hill, we decided everyone deserved a break so we all gathered back at the tent for cheese scones and hot tomato soup kindly supplied by Sally and Jana.

But I wouldn’t let everyone rest for long as we had plenty of rubbish to remove! The afternoon saw the usual collection of Wandle objects:

Many many bicycles – including one which was so new, we rode it back to the pile!


Scooters galore!


A golf club

A car door – my new ride…

My new ride

and a toy dinosaur – I always have to find a toy.


At half two, Stan from Merton Borough Council appeared with the grabber lorry to collect the rubbish causing a stir of excitement back at base.  We got to see the grabber in action as it crushed our metal water tank as if it were made of paper.

Crushing Power!

So what did we find? 1 wheelchair, 1 leaf blower, 1 giant plastic roof sheet, 1 plastic dinosaur, 1 vacuum cleaner, 1 water tank, 1 car door, 1 frying pan, 1 bucket, 1 petrol tank, 1 orange, 1 lemon, 1 pineapple, , 1 half coconut shell, 2 traffic cones, 2 barrels, 4 tyres, 7 scooters, 7 bicycles, lots of carpets, miscellaneous piping, bags and bags of other junk.

Huge thanks to Gideon and Michael who met me early to load and unload the van; Sally and Jana for catering for our 38 volunteers; Theo and John for helping supervise everyone on the day; to the Waste Management Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish on the day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: AJ, Bella, Bertie, Charles, Chris E, Chris L, Claire, Dave, David, Derek, Elliot, Felix, Gerald, Gideon, Guy, Harry, Jamie, Jana, Jane, Jason, John, Keith, Mark, Matylda, Michael F, Michael H, Ollie, Penny, Richard, Sally, Stewart, Theo, Tim, Toby and Wally.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?  That even if it looks like there is little rubbish in the river, the Wandle volunteers will somehow find enough to fill a lorry!