Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


Merry Christmas

Wishing all our members and volunteers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

You can keep up to date with what’s happening in 2018 by checking our Facebook page here, and join in with free training and events advertised here

We hope to see you out balsam bashing, surveying or testing water quality soon 🙂

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