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.

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