Tag Archives: Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed better watch out!

Over the course of this past week and a half, we have seen 11 volunteers from various organisations and backgrounds undergo certified training to enable them to safely use herbicides near water.  The fantastic news is that they all passed the training, which brings us to 26 volunteers now trained and able to use herbicides near water to control invasive non-native plant species.

This greatly increases the capacity of the BEACON project as there is only one Project Officer employed as part of the project, so if an area is being monitored and treated by volunteers, the Project Officer can move on and work downstream elsewhere.  This has worked brilliantly over the past years, and we hope with 11 newly trained volunteers this way of working can continue.  NPTC Training BEACON EA

This season our efforts will be focused on controlling Giant Hogweed at Dunham, Lymm and Heatley where is has been allowed to grow unchecked for many years.  You can find out more about Giant Hogweed and the affects it has on people and wildlife here.

Thank you to the Environment Agency for funding this brilliant opportunity for our volunteers, for rangers at Macclesfield Riverside Park for giving up their Visitor Centre for over a week, and of course thanks must go to the volunteers for dedicating their time to do this course, and in the future to controlling invasive non-native species.


Case Study for Collaborative Working

Bankhall Lane Giant HogweedThis year has been a great year for BEACON, but not such a great year for Giant Hogweed!

As Giant Hogweed can be so dangerous to people, causing rashes and burns when it comes into contact with skin, BEACON decided to prioritise this species as one they would tackle first.  You can find out more about Giant Hogweed here.  It is also easier to prioritise areas for control work as Giant Hogweed doesn’t occur throughout the whole Bollin, catchment, the first record of hogweed is near Manchester Airport, and the infestation gets increasingly worse as your head downstream.


BEACON Volunteer Giant HogweedThe first area to be tackled on a grand scale was Bankhall Lane in Hale as this was the first area where the Giant Hogweed started to get very dense.  Even to be able to treat a relativley short stretch of the river Bollin took a lot of co-ordination and discussion with landowners and private companies such as United Utilities and Network Rail.  The map below shows you who treated which areas of the river Bollin.  BEACON was able to contribute towards funding contractors to undertake work where the hogweed was very dense or inaccessible.  Farmers and landowners treated Giant Hogweed that was in their fields and ditches.

Bankhall Lane Control Work Maps

The results of this work have been amazing!  In just one season the density of the Giant Hogweed at Bankhall Lane has been dramatically reduced thanks to landowners, contractors and private companies working together and treating the right species at the right time.  The photos below show the before and after effects of the work.


Giant Hogweed in Field Margins - Sept 2013

Giant Hogweed in Field Margins – Sept 2013

No Giant Hogweed at Sewage Works - Sept 2014

No Giant Hogweed at Sewage Works – Sept 2014

This is the pipe line from the sewage works to the river before work started in September 2013, and after work has been completed in September 2014.  This work was undertaken by United Utilities and their contractors.


No Giant Hogweed in Field Margins - Sept 2014

No Giant Hogweed in Field Margins – Sept 2014

Giant Hogweed in Field Margins - Sept 2013

Giant Hogweed in Field Margins – Sept 2013

These are the field margins adjacent to the River Bollin at Bankhall Lane.  The landowner and contractors have undertaken work here to bring the Giant Hogweed under control.  The difference between the two pictures is fantastic!

Thank you to everyone who worked really hard to control the Giant Hogweed here, and we look forward to working together again next year to finish off this invasive nasty once and for all!

Decapitating Giant Hogweed

Return_Of_The_Giant_Hogweed_by_HappyRussiaWork has been done to control the Giant Hogweed along the Bollin by contractors, landowners, volunteers, BEACON and United Utilities staff.  We have started to work from the upstream end of the problem at Bankhall Lane in Hale, and have made our way down as far as Bowdon Sewage Treatment Works. 

praying Giant Hogweed Bowdon



Most of the Giant Hogweed has been sprayed using a herbicide, and some dug up where the plants have not yet reached maturity.






However, not all of the Giant Hogweed plants can be treated as there are just too many for us to tackle.  So, one way to prevent the plants spreading is to ‘decapitate’ them, or chop off the flowering head.  To do this you need PPE to stop the Giant Hogweed sap burning your skin, and you need to get the Giant Hogweed at this time of year before the seeds ripen.

Two National Trust volunteers and a member of UU staff, helped out last week on a blisteringly hot day to contol the Giant Hogweed at Bowdon.

Giant Hogweed Decapitating 1

Giant Hogweed Decapitating 2


You can see here the enormity of the task ahead of us.  Below is a bit of a before, during and after shot of the Giant Hogweed and its demise!




Giant Hogweed Decapitating Before


iant Hogweed Decapitating During


Giant Hogweed Decapitating After


Thanks to the work of the volunteers and staff at United Utilities all the Giant Hogweed in the vicinity of the Sewage Treatment works at Bowdon was ‘decapitated’, which will help them and members of the Freinds of Bowdon Bollin in thier control work next year.

Giant Hogweed Decapitating Volunteers