A fantastic day of balsam bashing was held on Sunday 26th June, with BEACON partners Friends of Bowdon Bollin (FOBB), and Friends of the Carrs (FOTC). Balsam bashing is the removal of Himalayan Balsam, an invasive non-native species, by pulling it out manually. More information on balsam bashing can be found here.
The morning saw FOBB get stuck into a strip of balsam that had been tackled over two years along the western edge of a 45 acre field that borders the River Bollin near Ashley Mill in Bowdon. The difference made to the abundance of balsam here over the past two years has been immense. There is far less Himalayan balsam than there used to be, which made pulling it up a bit trickier as brambles and nettles have taken over where the balsam used to be. This however is a small price to pay to ensure the restoration of riverside habitats, and noting long-sleeves can’t fix! FOBB also dug up some Giant Hogweed seedlings that were found in amongst the balsam, and two volunteers dug up hogweed and pulled up balsam plants from in the river; it was a great day to get the waders on! Seven volunteers got involved and had a great morning doing conservation work and socialising. FOBB have balsam bashes every weekend throughout the summer, the details of which can be found here.
In the afternoon we ambled over to Wilmslow to help FOTC with their balsam bash. The turnout for this bash was fantastic, with 14 people in attendance (and one baby!). FOTC worked on an area adjacent to the River Bollin just upstream of the second footbridge in the park. This patch has also been tackled for the past couple of years, but it often floods and each time the river brings new balsam seeds with it. So, FOTC must keep coming back to this area to ensure that the balsam brought along by the floods doesn’t spread into areas of the park that have been cleared. The work that BEACON partners are doing upstream to control Himalayan Balsam on their own land should slowly reduce the amount of seeds coming downstream. The work FOTC have done has reduced the number of seeds heading downstream towards the area FOBB look after. Luckily the volunteers managed to avoid the rain and enjoyed tackling some invasives. FOTC have other balsam bashes planned this summer, the details of which can be found here.
Thank you to everyone that came and volunteered at each balsam bash, as without this help the rivers in the Bollin catchment would be in a much poorer state. To get involved in balsam bashes happening in your local area please visit the events page.