Category Archives: Uncategorized

Species Alert – Asian Hornet

Asian HornetUnfortunately Asian Hornet (Velspa velutina) has been confirmed in North Devon near an apiary.

The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees.

This is the first confirmed sighting since last year, when a nest was discovered in the Tetbury area in Gloucestershire. That Asian hornet incursion was successfully contained by bee inspectors who promptly tracked down and destroyed the nest.

There is information on how to identify this new invasive species on the BEACON website here

The free Asian Hornet Watch reporting app, launched last March and downloaded 6500 times already, allows people to quickly and easily report possible sightings of the invasive species and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the National Bee Unit.hornets European and Asian Identification

Sightings can also be reported to the National Bee Unit here.

For more information please visit the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website

Invasive Species Week 2017

Get INNS-volved with Invasive Species week 2017 by supporting BEACON and finding out what you can do to help us control and eradicate invasive non-native species in the Bollin catchment.

You can follow BEACON’s progress with Invasive Species Week via our Facebook Page, where we will be posting lots of hints, tips and useful information.

You can also find out more about Invasive Species week on the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website.

Balsam Bash Bonanza!

Balsam on the Carrs, Wilmslow

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.

FOBB Balsam Bash Bowdon BollinFOBB Balsam Bash Bowdon Bollin

 

FOBB Balsam Bash Bowdon Bollin

 

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.

Balsam Bash Friends of the Carrs WilmslowBalsam Bash Friends of the Carrs Wilmslow

 

 

 

 

 

Balsam Bash Friends of the Carrs Wilmslow

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.

Balsam Bash Friends of the Carrs Wilmslow

 

Dog Day on the Carrs

FOTC Dog Day Wilmslow 2016Whilst we were bashing balsam in the rain and sunshine during BEACON’s first balsam bash of the season, also in Carrs Park in Wilmslow, Friends of the Carrs hosted a family dog show.  The event was a hit, even when the rains came, and helped raise awareness of the local park and the beautiful natural resource people have on their doorstep. To read more about this brilliant event please click here.

First Balsam Bash of the Season

On a rather wet Sunday 22nd May, BEACON, Friends of the Carrs and the Bollin Valley Partnership held the first balsam bash of the season, with five volunteers raring to get stuck in!  The Himalayan Balsam on the Carrs has been controlled in an ongoing programme of works for over five years, and this is definitely having a positive effect on the area.

Balsam bash on the Carrs My 22nd BEACON Wilmslow Bollin DeanWe all met on the Carrs at 2pm, just as the heavens opened!  Not to be detered we headed along the banks of the River Bollin to an area just past the first footbridge where we knew there was a lot of balsam in need of bashing.  There were comments from the volunteers and organisers that it had been difficult to find much balsam to bash this year and so it must be working!

 

We found lots of untouched balsam which was also unfortunately mingled in with some young Japanese Knotweed shoots that have been treated in previous years but obviously need treating again.

http://beacon-bollin.org.uk/events/

 

 

 

http://beacon-bollin.org.uk/events/

 

 

 

 

 

The four sisters that volunteered really enjoyed pulling up the plants and stomping on them to make sure they were definitely dead!  Dad seemed to enjoy getting stuck in too although we all ended up a bit soggy!  This one might be a contender for the wettest balsam bash at the Volunteer Thank You awards next year.

Balsam bash on the Carrs My 22nd BEACON Wilmslow Bollin Dean

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For more information on upcoming balsam bashes please visit our events page here.

 

 

 

 

 

We’re winning the battle!

On a lovely sunny Tuesday morning the River Bollin at Hale was surveyed.  It is very important to keep monitoring areas that have been treated to determine how effective the treatment was, and work has been ongoing here for the past three years.

Wood Anemone

Wood Anemone beating the balsam at Hale Golf Club!

 

The area surveyed was from Hale Waste Water Treatment Works to Hale Golf Club; a 5km stretch of river well known for its forests of Giant Hogweed and Giant Japanese Knotweed.  This area adjoins the piece of land Friends of Bowdon Bollin manage, so controlling invasive species here is beneficial to the work they are doing.

A survey was first done by a volunteer in 2013, with invasive species control happening right away once we knew the severity of the problem.  BEACON liaised with the landowners, United Utilities, the National Trust Dunham Massey and our own trained volunteers to plan out how we could all work together to control these invasive nasties.

Most notable was a crop of Giant Japanese Knotweed along the riverbank in 2013.  This covered over 100m2 and was taking over almost entirely.  Now it has been reduced to a small bunch of dead stems and a few small live shoots that will be treated this year.  Unfortunately the Himalayan Balsam has taken the opportunity to seed on the newly open ground, but this is much easier to deal with.

What remains of the Giant Japanese Knotweed - 2016

What remains of the Giant Japanese Knotweed – 2016

Giant Japanese Knotweed - 2013

Giant Japanese Knotweed – 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fence line for Hale Waste Water Treatment Works and field margins were hugely affected by Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed.  The plant populations here have not been entirely eradicated, but hugely reduced in number thanks to everyone’s efforts.

Field Margins - 2013

Field Margins – 2013

 

Field Margins -  2016

Field Margins – 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

The greatest success story BEACON has had so far is the transformation of a small piece of woodland opposite Hale Golf Club, which three years ago was full of Himalayan Balsam.  Student volunteers from Manchester University, exchange students from Singapore, Hale Golf Club Volunteers and BEACON Volunteers have all pitched in over the years to balsam bash here and the results speak for themselves.

Himalayan Balsam in Hale Woodland - 2013

Himalayan Balsam in Hale Woodland – 2013

Himalayan Balsam in Hale Woodland - 2013

Himalayan Balsam in Hale Woodland – 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hale Woodland - 2016

Hale Woodland – 2016

Hale Woodland - 2016

Hale Woodland – 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So well done all the volunteers, landowners, contractors and partner organisations that have helped make this a real success story, and BEACON aims to carry on this good work for the 2016 season.

Goodbye…but not quite!

P1040396

So, today is my last day in the paid BEACON Project Officer post. This post has ended due to a lack of funding, something that has troubled the BEACON Project for some time now.

Whilst it has been very sad to be closing down the project, it has been great to go over old files and photos and remember all the fantastic work that has been done as part of this project. Volunteers have been integral to this work and I am hugely grateful for all the input everyone has had over the years, be it with invasive species or diffuse water pollution. There has been over 7,000 volunteer hours contributed during the project lifetime, and over 2,400 volunteers involved ranging from 3 years to 90 years old. Without all your hard work the BEACON Project would not be as well-known and well-regarded as it is today.

BEACON Bollin RDWP Walkover SurveyI will be volunteering one day a week to maintain the project’s presence going as there are options to resume BEACON that will be explored fully in June. So, you can still get hold of me here or email sally.potts@nationaltrust.org.uk

There are also lots of resources now available on this website which may help answer any questions you may have, and local groups are still hosting balsam bashing events too, the details of which can also be found in the events section of the BEACON website here.

Thank you everyone for all you have contributed to caring for our little patch of the Bollin, and I look forward to what the future holds for BEACON.

All the very best.

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