Tall Himalayan Balsam in the foreground, trees and river in background

Pulling at Churchdown

The Gloucestershire Vale Conservation Volunteers regularly help to maintain a lovely nature reserve in Churchdown Parish Park. Today’s activity followed a theme lately – dealing with the Himalayan Balsam.

We cleared a good portion of the area by the brook last year and we were very pleased to see large areas balsam free. However, this year’s challenge was the trickier patches that were hiding in nettles or under dense trees on the steep bank.

Once we had cleared the first area, going as close as we dare to the edge of the bank, I put on my waders to tackle the lower stuff from the brook itself.

It started pretty shallow and is only a narrow water way. Surprisingly, the other bank was clear, so it was a case of just removing from one side.

Shallow river with large stepping stones in the foreground. Dense vegetation both sides
Attacking Balsam from the river

I was only able to go so far in the brook though ... it got deeper to mid thigh which is just below my waders. We pretty much cleared the site between the nine of us, so hopefully we’ll record a much lower incidence next year.

Tall stinging nettles with a U shape clearing cut in
Cleared patch of balsam hiding in stinging nettles

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