Tag Archives: Wandsworth

Wandle Cleanup: November 2019, Wandsworth

This month’s cleanup had a bumper turn out of 60 volunteers! We met on Sunday morning in King George’s Park, Wandsworth to focus our efforts on a stretch between two bridges. We were treated to lovely sunny weather and an unexpected delivery of 8 huge pumpkin pies! These definitely helped re-energise the team at lunch break and we managed to cover a whopping 350m of river and an even greater distance along the banks. Here are some of the highlights…

Volunteers spread out across the river to hunt for rubbish

As well as volunteers in the river in waders, we have teams of people helping to pull rubbish out onto the banks, bag it up and wheel barrow it back to the collection point, there are also litter pickers patrolling the banks and paths. So if you fancy getting involved there are always plenty of different roles to fill.

A typically grim selection of waste from the river

Volunteers were egged on by this sign that we were doing the right thing…

Seasonal treats provided a lunchtime sugar boost. A big thank you to Wally and his daughter for making the pies (and growing the pumpkin!) and to the Richmond University Baking Society for their delicious cup-cakes and loaf.

Heroic efforts were made to free this mattress from the river bed. Volunteers floated it downstream quite a distance before we were able to find a good bit of bank to lift it out onto.

Jess watches on as the mattress emerges.

The bank-side team provided essential man (and woman) power, to help haul it out of the river.

So, what did we find?

A chair, a drone, 10 bank cards, a stereo, two mattresses, a tyre, a bike wheel, two metal poles, numerous carpets/rugs, clothing, plastic sheets, a toy frog, tent poles, curtain rails and the usual collection of general litter and plastic waste.

The final pile

A special thank you to everyone who helped unload in the morning and pack up the van at the end of the event, Dave for supervising the Event Tent,  Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to our funder, Thames Water.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:

Sheila, Martin, Guy, Phil , Nick, Charles, Maddie, Jamie, Will, James, Hanna, Ken, Zead, Bryan, Wayne, Sabrina, Martina, Sabrina, Adan, Isabella, Margaret, Margaret, Hailey, Tamsin, Moshe, Rob, Jane, Sue, Zhugan, Aaron, J, Julia, Simon, Willliam, Suzanne, Alex, Jessica, Per, Felicity, Thomas, Peree, Paul, Andy, Soycelher, D, Will, Bev, Aamon, Matthew, Mikaela, Bianca, Felix, Deborah, Penny, Henry, Louis, Caitlin, Dave, Anna & Tom.

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: March 2019: Wandsworth

Our March river cleanup took place in King George’s Park, Wandsworth. We visited this site back in December and the area still appeared to be reasonably clean, which is a positive sign of the impact of our work.

After a night of heavy rain and continued strong winds the river was not suitable for wading – fast current and well above waist height for most of us. However, we had 46 happy volunteers turn up for litter picking along the banks. In doing this valuable work, they are preventing lots of pieces of litter entering the waterway.

We started the day with the usual welcome talk and health and safety briefing. It was great to see a few newbies eager to get involved as well as all our regulars keen as ever.

The majority of the rubbish was small pieces of litter such as food wrappers and packaging. The beady eyes of our volunteers helped them pick up even the smallest pieces of rubbish, however the wind proved a challenge for keeping it in the bags. We also removed plastic bags and cloths tangled amongst brambles and tree roots.

Around 12:30pm we took a break for lunch and hot drinks – huge thanks to Rosie for managing the refreshments. As the river condition had not improved for wading and most of the litter had been cleared during the morning, we decided to stop for the day and let everyone enjoy their Sunday afternoon.

Great work everyone – look how much we removed!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the April cleanup. Fingers crossed for fine weather and wading!


Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, those who supervised 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 National Lottery Community Fund.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Martin, Guy, Clare, Joseph, Jess, Nyssa, Billy, Jessica, John, Davina, Mia, Zhen, Errol, Dave, Derek, Aaron, Stefan, Nally, Rosie, Robert, Nick, Andy, Simon, William, Margaret, Kyle, David, Libby, Will, Charles, Amanda, Alexis, Steve, Jason, Nick, Rob, Caroline, Phil, Paul, Phil, Per, Chris, James, Natalie, Jane, Jamie.

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.

Wandle cleanup: November 2018: Wandsworth

Our November cleanup was scheduled to be held at Ravensbury Terrace in Wandsworth and the sun was shining. However, the heavy rain the previous day and throughout the night resulted in us unfortunately having to cancel the event!

Taking one look at the river we could see the water level had risen dramatically. The small island on the bend was well below the surface and the lower branches of the weeping willow were submerged. A repeat of December 2017 showing just how easily rain affects this site in Wandsworth: 

We did remove a few bin bags of rubbish from around the cars. Mostly drinks cans, bottles and food wrappers – every bit makes a difference!

Despite all this we want to say a huge THANK YOU to Dave for getting to the site early and for staying to greet any unknowing volunteers, and to all those who helped litter pick the car park. Apologies again to anyone who didn’t get the email, it was great to see you and chat over hot drinks and cakes. If this was your first time attending a cleanup, rest assured very few events are cancelled and we look forward to showing you the ropes in December.

See you next time for our festive cleanup!

Please bring some cash to purchase your Wandle cleanup Christmas cards!

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.


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: June 2018: Wandsworth

For June we headed to Ravensbury Terrace in Earlsfield, Wandsworth.

At this event, Polly was accompanied by myself (Hannah) and Lucy. We will be taking over from Polly and running the cleanups from July 2018. This month was our chance to learn the ropes!

We kicked off the day in the usual style, with a Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. It was a wonderful warm and sunny day, so it came as no surprise that everyone seemed keen to get wading shortly afterwards.

We had a great turnout, with around 50 volunteers working in and alongside the river. Whilst removing litter, some of the group concentrated on removing Himalayan balsam, an invasive plant species, from the river banks.

Here is the before and after!

Although we had recently visited this site back in January, the group quickly found our first big item – a Boris bike!

Followed by… another bike!

As the day went on, we found some other interesting items including a driver’s license, a teapot, a gold watch, coconuts, and a raccoon (don’t worry, not a real one), which Polly gave a new home.

Our break for lunch was a nice opportunity to cool off, drink some water and of course fill up on some cake.

The second half of the day was spent removing anything we had missed, and we found some wooden desks, and this teapot!

So what did we find? 1 VHS, 1 carpet, 1 speaker, 1 scooter, 1 Disney art box, 1 teapot, 1 raccoon, 1 bracelet, 1 watch, 1 driver’s license, 1 bucket on wheels, 1 trolley bag, 2 bikes, 2 footballs, 2 coconuts, 2 golf balls, 2 wooden desks, some silver piping and lots of glass and plastic bottles, food wrappers, plastic bags and bits of cloth – and bags and bags of other junk.

We also spotted a Cinnabar moth, which I had never seen before (thanks Dave)!

See you next month!

Hannah and Lucy

Huge thanks for the warm welcome, and to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Wally and Maddy for supervising the Event Tent, and 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, Tesco!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:  Aaron, Alison, Anne, Bridget, Charles, Chris, Dave, David C, David D, Derek, Ed, Eiryn, Ethan, Garth, Gemma, Gideon, Guy, Hugh, Ian, Jack, Jane, Jason, Jeffrey, Jo, Joanne, Joe, John, John, Luke, Madeline, Mark, Martin, Nick, Nicola, Paul, Per, Phil, Raphael, Robyn, Rory, Sally Ann, Sheila, Simon, Steve B, Steve N, Suzanne, Thomas, Wally and William.

Fly-tipping at Trewint Street

The Trewint Street bridge in Earlsfield is a fly-tipping blackspot which has caused concern for local people and conservationists for many years.

At the end of 2017, a significant pile of rubbish had started to accumulate again at this site in the river under the bridge, pictured below.

Today, the rubbish pile is enormous, almost to the level of the Wandle Trail itself, and there is also extensive fly-tipping and littering along the trail and pavement.

The Wandle Trust and the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust received large numbers of emails and Tweets reporting this issue, which we have duly reported to the Environment Agency and to LB Wandsworth, dating back a good four months.

Located at a key access point for the Wandle Trail and the Wandle Valley Regional Park, this indiscriminate fly-tipping at Trewint Street is unsightly, undermines the current investment work being undertaken by the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust, in partnership with Wandsworth Council, and is a major source of pollution for the River Wandle.

The improvement work to the Wandle Trail, along with recent interventions by the Wandle Trust to create better river habitats,  aims to regenerate, enhance and make the Wandle Trail more accessible for the benefit of local people.

The Wandle Trust organises frequent community clean-ups along the full length of the River Wandle including work at Trewint Street, usually twice a year, to remove rubbish from the river and its banks, which Wandsworth Council have supported by disposing of the collected waste.

Unfortunately, the magnitude of the rubbish that is regularly being dumped at Trewint Street is far beyond the scope of community volunteer events, and we at the Wandle Trust believe that clearance here requires professional expertise organised by the landowner.

What next?

In the first instance, there is an urgent need to coordinate the removal of the rubbish from the river as this could be polluting the water and is only encouraging further fly-tipping.

Secondly, and of equal importance, is the need to take serious steps to deter fly-tipping at this site in the future.

The Wandle Trust strongly believes that further action needs to be taken by the landowner, Wandsworth Council, at this site. We will liaise with them and work with them to the best of our ability – but we do not believe we are in a position to solve this problem for them.


Wandle cleanup: Wandsworth: January 2018

For our first cleanup of 2018, we headed to Ravensbury Terrace in Earlsfield.

Having attempted this cleanup for December, I had deja vu as I unloaded the van on site. At least this time there was no snow and you could actually see the bottom of the river, instead of the raging torrent I was faced with on Sunday 10th December 2017. Check out the video here (https://twitter.com/Wandle_Trust/status/940152156224675841) or look at the photo I took!

This month’s event was supported by a local resident, Phil Stubbington, who kindly donated to the Trust’s cleanup work, and also through our Wandsworth for the Wandle project, funded by the Tesco Bags of Help fund. Many thanks to both for allowing us to put on this much needed event!

We kicked of the day in the usual style, with a Health & Safety talk, but I also added a 2017 quiz – what had we achieved through our cleanups in 2017? Well here is the summary:

Not bad hey?

With our 2017 reflection over, we started cleanups for 2018. Waders got in the river, bank support were ready and waiting and the first cleanup of 2018 started!

Within a few minutes, it was clear we had a lot of work to do. The wading team hardly moved a metre for the first half an hour as they collected trug after trug full of rubbish.

One find that caught my attention first was this conch shell! We considered cleaning it up and using it as a way to summon the volunteers for break time, but in the end we decided against it.

Within less than half an hour, this was the rubbish pile:

We had not been to this site since April 2016, and it clearly needed a visit from us as the river bed was purely made of rubbish including plastic, bits of wood, building rubble, clothing and carpets.

The team soon found a mattress as well which was so full of water it took some muscle to get up the bank and then up on to the car par for collection.

For 20 minutes, we watched as a dedicated trio dug around in the river bank for an unidentified large metal object. In the end, it was not one safe..

But two safes!

A find that got the volunteers excited was this Avo Meter.

However, as I had never heard of an “Avo Meter”, I was more excited by finding Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo.

By lunch time, the rubbish pile was huge and the volunteers had started a toy collection for me to choose from…

In the afternoon, we got back to it as the temperature had dropped and it was just better to keep moving.

We found a stone loach which we safely returned to the river. Throughout the day we also spotted four eels and a barbel (or so I am told…)

As we neared the railway bridge we found a collection of number plates..

And some huge silver piping which looked much heavier than they were to carry, allowing everyone to look stronger than they were.

To top it all off, we found some big money, 1 Romanian Leu which is 19p at the moment according to Google!

Finally with the rubbish pile about the overspill the fence, we called it a day and packed up the van.

So what did we find?  1 gas meter, 1 forklift tyre, 1 bra, 1 baby dummy, 1 pub bench, 1 Go Kart tyre, 1 single mattress, 1 car seat, 1 Romanian Leu (19p), 1 bicycle basket, 1 camping kettle, 1 makeup set, 1 Lumiere toy, 1 Bruce (shark from Finding Nemo), 1 conch shell, 2 old pollution booms, 2 Christmas trees, 2 bicycles, 2 safes, 2 TVs, 3 computer chairs, 3 traffic cones, 3 giant silver bits of piping, 4 other tyres, 4 carpets, 5 coconuts, 10 number plates, bags and bags and bags and bags of other rubbish!

We also saw 4 eels, 2 stone loach and a barbel while working!

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 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, Tesco and Phil!

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:   Aaron, Alfie, Andy, Annabelle, Becca, Charles, Chris E, Chris F, Daniel, Dave, Derek, George, Guy, Ian, Jackie, James, Jane, Joanne, Joe, John, John, Marcus, Mark, Martina, Martina, Nicola, Nicola, Nigel, Noaman, Paul, Penny, Phil R, Phil S, Rory, Rose, Rosemary, Sam, Shelia, Steve B, Steve M, Stewart, Thea, Thomas, Wally and William.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup? What a stone loach and baby barbel look like!

Wandle cleanup: Wandsworth: October 2017

The Great River Rescue!

For October we headed to Wandsworth to tackle the Wandle through King George’s Park, and with 48 people joining us, we were fairly sure we would be finishing the day with a very large rubbish pile.

The cleanup this month was part of a much wider campaign to raise awareness of the amount of plastic and rubbish found in our rivers, and consequently the ocean: The Great River Rescue. The campaign has been organised by environmental charity Thames21, The Rivers Trust, the Marine Conservation Society, the Angling Trust and the Canal and River Trust. The campaign was inspired by Future Dust, a large-scale artwork by Maria Arceo in the shape of a giant plastic footprint commissioned as part of Totally Thames, the September-long annual celebration of the River Thames. The installation will tour to different riverside locations across London. To find out more about the campaign and Future Dust, visit here.

After the Health & Safety talk, we divided up in to 3 teams: wading, bank support and litter pickers. The wading team got in the Wandle just upstream of the Lydden Road pedestrian bridge and from there headed upstream. In no time at all, rubbish was flying out of the river and the day began.

We were joined by two new volunteers who can come armed with powerful magnets on the end of rope – using them to fish out metals from the river! I don’t know whether it was thanks to these magnets, or a coincidence, but we found a lot of random bits of metal on the river this time.

As we worked up the river, the famous coconut was found:

And trug after trug of plastic rubbish was pulled from the river, put in bags and carried to the dump site.

By lunch time, the rubbish pile was taking shape and we were all ready for a sit down and a cup of tea. A huge thanks to Leah and the other students for baking such lovely treats for everyone.

After lunch, everyone got back in the river to finish off the last 50 m to the next bridge and Derek did a spot of river shopping:

So what did we find?  1 pet cage, 1 coconut, 1 road sign, 1 badminton racket, 1 kids car, 1 bike tyre, 1 car bumper, 1 elephant mask, 1 safe, 1 shopping basket, 1 tyre swing, 1 plastic table, 1 empty drill box, 1 traffic cone, 1 shopping trolley, 1 bicycle, 10 tyres, 40 metal poles and 80 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 back at the garage, the students for baking such yummy treats, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and the Waste Team at Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:   Aaron, Adam, Andy, Charles, Chiara, Chris, Chris, Christine, Connor, Dave J, Dave W, David H, David S, Derek, Emily, Geoffrey, Gideon, Guy, Jane, Joe, John L, John N, Leah, Lisa, Luke, Lynda, Marcus, Mark, Martina, Megan, Mohamad, Naah, Pamela, Penny, Per, Phil, Raphael, Robert, Rose, Ruby, Steve , Tom, Tony, Wally, Wayne and Will.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup? Be quick so I don’t miss out on cake!