Wandle cleanup: June 2009: Merton

The one with the Wandle Valley Festival and the…


We should have seen it coming: the idea of advertising our Wandle Valley Festival community cleanup as part of the Springwatch Dirty Weekend was just too much for the Weather Gods, who took revenge by sending us overnight thunderstorms, and yes, a big Dirty Spate down the mainstem of the Wandle.

So while Gideon and Bella were running our Trout in the Classroom display, and starting our public consultation on what local people want for their river, at Deen City Farm


… and the Wands boys demonstrated Riverfly monitoring and fly-casting on the grass in Morden Hall Park


… we’d luckily already scoped out the little Pickle Ditch where it runs around the ancient site of Merton Priory as an alternative cleanup location.


Chris uncovered a cache of ritual river-offerings…


… Steve collected several barrow loads of rather more secular rubbish…


… and we soon turned our attention to clearing invasive Himalayan balsam


… which was generously collected by our friends from Groundwork, and carted away to be incinerated:


 At 1.30, Sally and Jo produced a full summer cream tea…


… which set the tone for a balmy afternoon watering Groundwork’s new plantings opposite Merton High Street, and Dirtily grubbing up more Himalayan balsam around the Sainsbury’s footbridge…


 … before heading off to visit other parts of the Wandle Valley Festival.

As ever, thanks to Gary and his team from Merton Council for clearing away all the rubbish we collected – and check back soon for more news of our Wandle-wide invasive species eradication programme.

In the meantime, if you do notice any invasive species along the river, including Himalayan balsam, floating pennywort or Japanese knotweed, especially if they’ve appeared where you haven’t seen them before, please let us know by downloading one of these forms, filling it in, and sending it back to us!


Thanks to all our volunteers: Andrew, Andy, Ann, Carol, Carolyn, Charlotte, Chris D, Chris E, Diana, Erica, Felix, Jack, Jo, Liz, Luko, Michelle, Mike, Nick, Peter, Phil, Richard, Rigby, Sally, Stephen, Steve, Theo and Zoe

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