Tag Archives: Wandle

Wandle Cleanup: October 2019: Merton

The unrelenting rain threatened to call things off on Sunday, when we met for October’s cleanup at Waterside Way, in Merton. The river level started a little higher than normal, while the forecast looked pretty miserable, and due to the flashy nature of the river we were worried that any further heavy rain might mean that the cleanup would need to be cancelled on health and safety grounds. However, thankfully the weather forecast was not 100% accurate and we just had a dreary and drizzly day to contend with: nothing our stalwart volunteers can’t handle!

We had an excellent turnout of 51 volunteers, some wading whilst others hauled the rubbish onto the banks, ferried it back to the collection point in wheel barrows and litter picked the banks.

The weather didn’t get the memo that it was meant to be a Nice Day for A White Wedding……

There was more rubbish in the river than we anticipated and we cleared approximately 4 tonnes from a stretch less than 100m long.

 After two years of repeated efforts and an hour long battle on Sunday, this particularly pesky shopping trolley was excavated from its home in the silt, only to be joined shortly afterwards by another one.

If this skateboard had been structurally sound, we would have all been delighted by a fabulous display of Polly’s skills! Sadly this one had seen better days, so we’ll just have to wait until a better quality one is pulled from the river.

Jess found a way to keep people focused on the work…

So what did we find?

Two tyres, two shopping trolleys, a mattress, a desk fan, numerous scaffold poles, a tent, a mini skateboard, a toy gun, mdf boards, loads of carpet, clothing and the usual haul of plastic bottles and wrappers.

A special thank you to everyone who helped pack up the van at the end of the event, Dave for supervising the Event Tent,  Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment, and to our funders, the National Lottery Community Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Bev, Autem, Anna, Lindsay, Margo, Anna, James, Iker, Simon, William, Dave, Mickey, Wayne, Martin, Guy, India, Tony, Steve, Rob , Paul, Elizabeth, Brian, Peter, Simon, Derek, Aaron, Will, Phil, Chris, Deborah, Andy, J, Teddy, Alex, Elijah, Margaret, Jacob, Kayla, Sheila, Phil, Zena, Willow, Julia, Mick, Jamie, NJ, Kathryn, Paula, Sophie and Charles.

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,

Jess

Wandle Cleanup: August 2019: Wandsworth

For this month’s cleanup we headed to Ravensbury Terrace, where the Wandle forms the boundary between the boroughs of Wandsworth and Merton.

As usual, once everybody had arrived, we did a quick Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. Earlier in the year, we had to cancel the cleanup at this particular site due to bad weather, so luckily the storm earlier in the week did not cause the river levels to rise too high, and we were able to go ahead. On the day the weather was windy but lovely and sunny – perfect for wading!

We had a total of 29 volunteers this month working together wading, pulling rubbish out from the river and litter picking the banks. We were expecting to discover a large accumulation of rubbish, due to the length of time since we’d visited this site, and whilst we found a fair amount, it was much cleaner than we thought!

We didn’t just find litter in the river this month… we also saved a butterfly from drowning and left him to dry out on the banks.

We stopped for lunch around 1 o’clock and had to eat the cake fast as it was melting in the sunshine! We also had time to model some of the interesting items we found.

After lunch we did a second sweep of the river and also ventured downstream a little more. We always manage to find more rubbish, so we went all the way through until 3 o’clock, when we finally decided to call it a day.

Here is the final rubbish pile.

So what did we find? 5 tyres, two bikes, two traffic cones, a carpet, a pillow, a make-up suitcase, a till (unfortunately empty), a pipe, a TV, 1 radiator, three footballs, a pram and as always lots of bottles, cans and plastic bags. 

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, Wandsworth 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!

Special shout out to Guy and helpers for clearing over 1500 Himalayan Balsam plants so we could litter pick the bank and access the river easily and to David for testing out the depth of the river!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Tom, Rob, Gearoid, Dave, Wally, Ben, Sheila, Tom, Charlene, Jason, Margaret, Charles, Chris, Fay, Deborah, David, Daphne, David, Paul, Derek, Ed, Thomas, William, Phil, Davina, Paul, Fingal and Guy.  

As this was our last clean-up, Jo and I would like to say a massive thank you to Polly and Jess from the Wandle Trust for training us and giving us the opportunity to run these cleanups. We have loved every minute and are sad to be leaving.

To all the volunteers that come out every month come rain or shine, you really are the heart of this charity and without you all we would not be able to run these events and make the difference we do to the river and surrounding environment.

Particularly huge thanks to Dave and Wally for giving us all the guidance and humour we could possibly ask for!

We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing the clean-ups continue to grow in the future. We will definitely be back to volunteer once we are finished on our next adventures!

Lucy and Jo.

Wandle Cleanup: July 2019: Sutton

For the July Cleanup we headed to Goat Road, Sutton.

We started off the day with the usual Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. As always, everyone was very eager to crack on with wading and litter picking along the banks.

We had 52 volunteers join us this month, another great turn out! From a distance, the river seemed fairly clean, but on closer inspection, we could see lots of rubbish was entangled in the river vegetation and bank sides. Derek had his eye on a Boris bike and motorcycle he had spotted earlier in the month so a few of the volunteers focused on retrieving these.

The riverbanks also needed a thorough litter picking and we came across around 100 cans that had been carelessly discarded.

When it was time for a lunch break, we were all hurrying to get a piece of Jo’s mums’ delicious coffee and walnut cake (thank you Valerie!).

In the afternoon we moved upstream of the road bridge to clear the section of river downstream of the weir.

There was still so much rubbish to find, so we went all the way through until 3 o’clock when we finally decided to call it a day.

Here is the final rubbish pile – a haul so big the council had to do two trips to take it away!

So what did we find? 10 tyres, a motorbike, a Boris bike, a bed, one mattress, a traffic cone, a carpet, two barriers, various toys, a bike, two coconuts, a toilet, and as always lots of bottles, cans and plastic bags. 

See you all next month!

Lucy and Jo

Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up the van at the end of the event, Dave for supervising the Event Tent, and Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the same day, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment, and to our funders, the National Lottery Community Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Val, Martin, Rosie, Tomm, Steve, Pauline, Dizzy, Dave, Kate, Jane, Dave, Guy, Steve, Takako, Thomas, Roderick, Fiona, Tony, Bertie, Jason, Paul, Syed, Sumayya, James, Lawson, Mike, Margo, Chris, Charles, Derek, Aaron, Nick, Claire, Joseph, Benjamin, Per, Phil, Andy, Joseph, Marion, Neil, Thea, Sarah, John, Wally, Rob, Dylan and Elisabeth.

Wandle Cleanup: June 2019: Merton

Our June river cleanup took place at North Road, Merton. We had a great turnout this month with 68 keen volunteers.

Following the welcome talk and health and safety briefing, we headed downstream to access the river and start removing the rubbish. It was amazing to discover how much litter was both floating and embedded in the riverbed and banks.

Items such as plastic bottles and food wrappers quickly filled the trugs, and volunteers on the banks helped to bag it up and wheel it to the rubbish pile.

The wading team in action.
Yorkshire puddings anyone?

We also found quite a few larger, heavier items such as duvets, bicycles and a three-piece sofa set! We hauled these onto the banks as a team, and the cub scouts also did a great job of bagging up the rubbish and carrying it to the rubbish pile.

Warning! Duvets are heavy when wet!

Several trees had fallen across the river, creating great habitat for insects, birds and fish, and also trapping rubbish for us to retrieve. The volunteers carefully leafed through the branches, searching for “hidden treasures”.

A litter trap – and also an important refuse for small fish and birds.

Around 1pm we took a break to refuel. A huge thanks to Wally for managing the refreshments. Whilst enjoying some cake we sang Happy Birthday to Derek, one of our long serving and dedicated cleanup team.

After lunch we went back in the river where we’d left off and continued upstream pulling more rubbish. In total we removed a total of 6 tonnes of rubbish from along just 250m of river!

Trug, after trug, after trug of rubbish!

What did we find?
Two bicycles, a sofa and two armchairs, car tyres, a TV, duvets, an estate agent signpost, various parts of motor vehicles, children’s toys, kitchen pots and pans, religious statues, and the usual food wrappers and drinks bottles and cans.

We had a massive rubbish pile by the end of the session!

Great work everyone. Looking forward to seeing you all at our July cleanup!

Jo & Lucy

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Wally for supervising the Event Tent, Merton 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 National Lottery Community Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Tim, Simon, Carter, Shaun, Claire, Alfie, Sheila, Phil, Dave, Chris, John, Carolyn, Nick, Tom, Jenny, Becky, Ed, Matthew, Tony, Charles, Tim, William, Steve, Emma, Berte, Joanna, Thomas, Anita, Wally, Neil, Guy, David, Peter, Martin, Per, Andy, Nick, Farah, Davina, Aria, Murray, Elizabeth, Claire, Joseph, Alan, Jason, Denis, Ivan, Robert, Wilfred, Sebastian, Arna, Jane, Alan, Rob, Bev, Robert, Stewart, Jill, Leo, Aaron, Brian, Thea, Phil, Liz, Chris, Simon, Suzanne

Wandle Cleanup: April 2019: Sutton

For our April cleanup we headed to Culvers Avenue, Sutton as part of the nationwide Great British Spring Clean taking place this month.

As usual we started off the day with a Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. We then cracked on with wading and litter picking around the banks.

We had an amazing turnout this month with 72 volunteers who were all full of enthusiasm and eagerness to clean the river!

Before lunch we removed litter along the long stretch of the river running through the park, all the way down to Culvers Avenue and the areas around the river. We found lots of personal items, including a sock, some keys, a phone and a coat. Another small group of volunteers spent the morning clearing the river near Hackbridge Road. 

We stopped for lunch around 1pm and were lucky to have some home-baked goods waiting for us, made by two of the students who volunteering with us – massive thanks to both of you, the cakes were delicious!

After lunch we went down the right-hand side of the river and removed even more litter from the river and banks, finding components of a basketball net.

There was so much rubbish to find we went all the way through until 3 o’clock when we finally decided to call it a day.

Here is the final rubbish pile.

So what did we find? 2 tyres, a trolley, a pushchair, a toilet, 2 footballs, a coat, some socks, a pogo stick, a scooter, a cone, a basketball net and fixture, some keys, a phone, a type writer, lots of bottles, cans and plastic bags. 

Lucy and Jo

Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up the van at the end of the event, Wally for supervising the Event Tent, Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to The National Lottery Community Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Martin, Sheila, Paul, Elizabeth, Brenda, John, Jan, Martin, Mickey, Amanda, Maria, Rowna, Natalie, Guy, Fran, Leila, Richard, Elizabeth, Steve, Amanda, Nicholas, Jenny, Andrea, Marion, Alistair, Nick, Christopher, Jessica, Mick, Tom, Clare, Joseph, Ed, Matthew, Nick, Wayne, Tony, Phil, Clare, Graham, Rob, Amberel, Sian, Rob, Charles, Victor, Vivienne, William, Elisabete, Isla, Simon, Autem, Kate, Bev, Rob, Margaret, James, Elaine, Gillian, Geoff, Dave , Wally, and Aaron.

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!

Lucy

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.

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, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment 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, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment 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!