Monthly Archives: May 2016

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.






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


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.