Hexham Rotary Helps the Environment

at workAfter talking to the Tyne Rivers Trust, we arranged for two small working parties help them to remove some Himalayan Balsam from the river bank. The area chosen was the SSI at Watersmeet - the junction of the North and South Tynes. Each group of six Rotarians and some partners met on the riverside to help.

at workThe first party consisted of Brian Sanderson, Rob Hart, Ben Herdan, Peter Jewitt, Terry Robson and Jean Dumbrell - all carefully briefed on social distancing - who met on the Tuesday afternoon.

at workThe second party set to on Wednesday morning and Andy Rigg, Andy & Ann Moore, Roger Abraham, Jim Yeomans and Andy Prior took their turn at tackling the invader.

at workHimalayan Balsam is an annual plant that was impoted into the UK as a garden flower. It is an annual and speads rapidly, each plant producing around 500 seeds. It stifles the natural vegetation and outgrows its competitors. It is very shallow rooted and easy to pull up but this means it is easily washed away by flood waters and this leaves bare patches of river bank that are then easily eroded.

at workOur two groups worked diligently for two hours and were very pleased to see their patches of HB cleared away, leaving the British grasses and plants a chance to flourish. Although not hard work, we had chosen the two warmest days in August and that, combined with the very humid weather, at workmeant it was very warm work and we all perspired freely. We started wearing tabards for a photograph but discarded them later on because of the heat. The plant, once pulled up, was broken and piled in heaps to rot down. We were only just in time as some seed heads were already forming and, in another week, would have been spreading next years crop.

at workDespite the hot weather, everyone enjoyed themselves and expressed satisfaction at a job well done. at workit was especially satisfying to see the several areas cleared of himalayan Balsam.

The Tyne Rivers Trust thanked us for our hard work. We hope to work with them in the future to continue our efforts to improve the local environment.

at workOur pictures show us hard at work.