Tag Archives: Wandle

Riding for Rivers, London to Brighton Cycle Ride

Last Sunday, Nick and I rode 54 miles in the name of rivers, completing the London to Brighton cycle ride. This blog is our way of saying thank you to all of those who supported and sponsored us along the way.

(If you’re worried you missed the opportunity to sponsor us, you still can, so never fear! The links are below)

http://www.doitforcharity.com/NickHale

http://www.doitforcharity.com/THull

So why on earth did we agree to cycle 54 miles?

Well, to be honest it was a mix of thinking “Ride4Rivers” was a catchy slogan, and being asked to do it when we under the influence in the pub. Before we knew it, our cycling jerseys had arrived in the post and we were beginning a countdown to Sunday 17th September.

What was Ride4Rivers?

The Ride4Rivers team was organised by the Rivers Trust, inviting local trusts and volunteers to raise money and awareness for their local river by joining the London to Brighton cycle ride. In the team were myself and Nick, other rivers trust staff and volunteers, and riders from Five Rivers and the Angling Trust among others. All the money raised by the Ride4Rivers team will go back to the Trusts and help further work to protect and enhance our river ecosystem. So how could we say no really?

The BIG Day

The Ride4Rivers team gathered early in the Sunday morning at Clapham Common with over 4000 other riders.

The team respectfully giving space and attention to the fuel for most to get started, coffee

Within a few miles we came to Hackbridge where the route offered a perfect photo opportunity overlooking the site where we removed four weirs and undertook significant restoration work back in 2014 on the Wandle – with Nick working for us as the contractor at the time!

The river was looking splendid, but there wasn’t time to stop for long, and shortly after we were passing the source of the Wandle at Carshalton Ponds.

A quick pit stop to admire the Hackbridge restoration work

The flat ground of London soon turned to numerous steep climbs as we ascended the North Downs. Fortunately however physics was on our side as what goes up must come down. Soon we had gravity helping us as we descended into the Weald. The atmosphere among all was great as we pushed on mile after mile. Our stomachs began to grumble but the organisers had this covered by laying on an absolute feast at Mile 29, the only thing being they made us work for it by locating the lunch at the top of a steep hill.

Feeling energised if somewhat seized up, progress after lunch began well but then… psssss, Nick got a puncture on his rear tyre. Now I mentioned that neither of us are cyclists, it would appear that since being children our memory of how to replace an inner tube was a little hazy. Sometime later (and with a little help it must be said) we were back on the road.

Sad face

A noise continued to be emitted from my bike that had developed since lunch.  Some 12 miles later as we approached the infamous Ditchling Beacon the noise finally got to me and I figured I should have a little investigate. It appeared that I had been riding with my brake partly on since lunch. Well I didn’t want to make it too easy! Again with our bike maintenance knowledge lacking after a little more unsuccessful fumbling the only thing for it was to disconnect the rear brake.

Ditchling Beacon soon loomed over us and the climb was on, one mile of uphill struggle lay ahead but we were not going to be defeated and soon we summited to spectacular panoramic views with the sun coming out on cue.  More unsuccessful fumbling to reinstate my brake, meant a bit of a hairy descent down to Brighton but who cared, from here it was all downhill to the finish line, the end was near and the prospect of a pint alluring.

Ditchling Beacon summited

We both need to say a massive thank you to all of you who so kindly donated to Ride4Rivers – your backing was so valuable to encourage us along, not to mention the benefit it will bring in helping us to enhance, restore and protect our rivers. Thank you so much! Nick and I also need to thank Steve Wright, Luke and Sam for lending us bikes so that we were able to take part – otherwise it would have been a long walk.

A well earned beer

If you wanted to sponsor, but missed out then our fundraising pages are remaining open for another couple of months so please do give what you can in support of our local rivers.

http://www.doitforcharity.com/NickHale

http://www.doitforcharity.com/THull

 

World Rivers Day

What is World Rivers Day?

World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world’s waterways and it takes place on the last Sunday in September each year. 

We rely on rivers for more than you may realise. Rivers around the world provide us with freshwater to drink, wash and to water our crops. They were (and still are) a source of power. We use them as a mode of transport both for industry and for our recreation. On top of these, they are the many more ecological services that rivers and their ecosystems provide us.

Given how much we rely on rivers, it’s clear that we cannot impact our local river systems without ultimately impacting our own health and well-being.  With many of our rivers facing an uncertain future, it is all the more important we celebrate them and raise awareness of the key issues they’re up against.  

How to celebrate?

Across our area, lots of partners are planning to celebrate World Rivers Day in many different ways. Have a scroll below and see what’s to offer in your local area.

Loddon Rivers Week – Monday 18th to Sunday 24th September

This years Loddon Rivers Week is timed to coincide with World Rivers Day on Septenber 24th – supported by Thames Water and the Rivers & Wetland Community Days fund.
During this week, and on the day itself the Loddon Catchment Partnership are inviting people who are curious about their rivers to come along to watch, help and learn about some of the activities that can help our rivers become healthier places with thriving wildlife.

River Mole Discovery Day

Join the Mole Partnership in Leatherhead on World Rivers Day (24th September, remember?) to celebrate the Mole and discover the secrets of the river.

Lots of activities for families too!

To download the event flyer, click here.

Wandle Fortnight

A two-week long celebration of the River Wandle – with over 60 events to choose from and plenty to pick on World Rivers Day itself.

The full programme can be found here. 

World Rivers Day on the Hogsmill

Join the Hogsmill Partnership on World Rivers Day to celebrate the wonderful Hogsmill river. There will be bird watching, pond dipping, crafts, wildlife talks and much more going on at the Hogsmill Nature Reserve in Berrylands.

Download the full leaflet here. 

Knowing your rudd from your roach

Our lucky Pollution Patrol volunteers were treated to a FIN-tastic day with our local Environment Agency team, learning all about fish.

It may come as a surprise to some people, but the Hogsmill, Wandle and Beverley Brook all contain a variety of different fish species. Common species across all three rivers include chub, dace, roach, barbel, stickleback and European eels.

But how do you tell the different between these species? For some, it is easier than others. The European eel is quite distinctive compared to the others for example. But as to the rest, it’s a bit more difficult.

Tom Cousins, a local EA Fisheries Officer, started the day for us with a presentation on the different fish species and the key identifying features.

The diagram below shows the external morphology of an average fish, and the features that help us distinguish one species from another.

For example: Roach and Rudd

These two fish are quite similar in appearance, both large-bodied with reddish fins. So how can we tell them apart? The answer is by looking at the mouth.

The roach is a bottom feeder, and its mouth points downwards, with the upper lip over-hanging the bottom lip – whereas a rudd feeds from the surface, and therefore the bottom lip overhangs the top lip.

The presentation from the Environment Agency is available below for you to download, with many more tricks and tips for ID.

Fish ID Presentation

As part of the training day, we also got to witness the Environment Agency’s electrofishing survey at Morden Hall Park on the River Wandle in South London.

It was amazing to learn about the fish in the classroom, and then come outside and see some in the flesh. Each fish caught was measured, and scale samples from some were taken in order to age the fish.

Once they had been recorded and had recovered, they were returned safely back to the Wandle. 

Many thanks to Morden Hall Park for hosting us and to the Environment Agency for running the event!

Calling Wandle shoppers: Help us fund Wandle cleanups with your vote at Tesco

Do you live in Wandsworth? Or perhaps the Sutton area? Do you buy your food and other shopping from your local Tesco store?

If so, you could help us to raise up to £8,000 in funding for future Wandle cleanups!

Two of our recent applications to the Tesco Bags of Help fund – Spring Clean in Sutton, and Wandsworth for the Wandle – have been successful, and now you and other local residents can help decide how much funding these projects get, with £4,000 available at each store.

Throughout May and June, until voting closes on 30th June, you will be able to vote for your favourite project in one of the local Tesco stores on the map below. If Wandle cleanups get the most votes, we will be awarded £8,000 to continue funding them for 2017 and 2018!

wandle-cleanups-2016Our cleanups make a big difference to the river. In 2016 alone we removed 47 tonnes of rubbish, clearing 4.4 km of the Wandle. So we really need this additional financial support to purchase new equipment and run the events through 2017 and 2018.

What is the Tesco Bags of Help fund?

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p plastic bag levy – being awarded to local community projects.

Bags of Help offers community groups and projects across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags. Members of the public will be able to vote in store during May and June to decide which projects should receive the £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 awards.

How can you help?

You can help in two ways:

  1. Cast your own vote! The Tesco stores which are holding votes for Wandsworth and Sutton are shown on the map above. Please vote for our Wandle cleanups and help clean up the Wandle in your local area.
  1. Help us spread the word! Share this blog and let your friends and neighbours know that the vote is open until June 30th. Encourage them to shop in their local Tesco store in Wandsworth or Sutton, and cast their vote for Wandle cleanups in 2017 and 2018.

Thank you for your support in helping us to carry on running Wandle cleanups!

Cleanups

Get ready for London Rivers Week 2017

Get your diaries out and calendars open, the dates for London Rivers Week 2017 have been confirmed!

LRW logo finalLondon Rivers Week 2016 brought together many partners across London, delivering a total of 35 public events to get everyone involved with their local river. This year, we want to make it even bigger and better.

London Rivers Week 2017 will start on Monday 26th June and run through to Sunday 2nd July. During this week, organisations across London will put on a variety of river themed events including cleanups, guided walks, information talks, citizen science taster sessions and more.

To find out more about London River Week, check out the Thames 21 website page where all the events will be listed: http://www.thames21.org.uk/londonriversweek/

Until then, keep your eyes peeled for more details on what is to come!

20161935823_00d2bef0b3_o

Action on the River Wandle

We’ve been busy on the River Wandle in south London, with new projects starting and plenty of volunteer events. Have a look below to read about our recent Wandle work.

1. River Wandle Cleanups

On the second Sunday of every month we run a community cleanup on the River Wandle. These events are really popular and attract an average of 40 volunteers each time! Here are some of our recent cleanup blogs:

November 2016                         October 2016                          September 2016

Don’t forget to help us fund these in 2017 by voting for our Aviva Project HERE!

2. New Project: Discovering the Source of the Wandle

wandle-park-croydon

We have embarked on an exciting new project to research and understand the source of the River Wandle and how it has moved over time. The project will work with local volunteers to research the source through archived material, geological maps, photographic evidence and oral histories. Read all about it here!

3. Parrots Feather Control in Beddington Park

img_0779Working with local volunteers our INNS Officer, Alan Martin, tackled the Parrots Feather found in Beddington Park on the Wandle. Parrots Feather is an aquatic invasive plant that loves to grow in still and slow moving water. Our team of volunteers manually cleared the pond whilst our Education Officer ran a number of activities to raise awareness about invasive non-native species – read the blog here!

 

 

New London Partnership Project to tackle Urban Pollution

We have teamed up with Thames 21 on a new project to tackle urban pollution across London’s rivers.

Many improvements in the quality of urban rivers have been made in recent years, but lots of serious water quality issues remain. One of the biggest issues is ‘urban runoff’, where a toxic mixture of contaminants derived from urban areas drain straight into rivers.

With surface water drains often running straight into rivers, these contaminants are washed directly and unfiltered into urban rivers when it rains. During these ‘first flush’ events, river water often changes from being clear and colourless to being an opaque grey-black colour, and water analysis shows that a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, fine particles, nutrients, microorganisms and heavy metals are the cause.

First Flush samples from the River Wandle

First Flush samples from the River Wandle

In urban areas the contaminants causing rivers to run grey-black in colour may have a greater impact, but the locations at which they enter a river are often unknown, and they are relatively costly to survey, with samples needing to be processed by a lab.

Our project with Thames 21 is testing a low-cost sampling method that can be used by volunteers to identify complex urban contamination. In particular, it aims to investigate Surface Water Outfalls (SWOs) which discharge contaminated urban runoff into London’s tributaries of the River Thames.

The method being developed is based on evidence from data collected on the River Wandle, and urban sites in Wigan in NW England, which show that Total Suspended Solids (TSS) are strongly correlated with several important heavy metals and E. coli (a bacterium which can indicate faecal matter) and can therefore be used as a low-cost proxy to identify problematic concentrations of these contaminants.

The next step in this project is for us and Thames 21 to create Pollutant Profiles for our rivers to see if they match this correlation. You can follow progress on the project on our Twitter feed @SE_Rivers_Trust with #TSS!

Award Winning Restoration on the Wandle

Our rehabilitation work on the River Wandle’s Carshalton Arm has won the Urban Category of the 2016 UK River Prize.

By opening up fish passage, enhancing river habitat, addressing urban diffuse pollution and reintroducing brown trout, we have attained ‘Good Ecological Potential’ for the Carshalton Arm and re-established trout for the first time in over 80 years!

We attended the Awards Ceremony in Blackpool this week at the River Restoration Centre‘s Annual Conference to collect our award and showcase our project to the wider river community.

We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without all the people and organisations who helped us along way. To express our gratitude, we created this short film about the journey this project has taken us on.

River Wandle wins Urban Project Category for the 2016 UK River Prize

Carshalton Before Work Carshalton After Work

We are delighted to announce that our work on the River Wandle in south London has won the ‘Urban Project’ category of the 2016 UK River Prize. The project is one of four category winners which will now go forward as finalists for the overall river prize, which will be announced at the River Restoration Centre’s Annual Conference in Blackpool on the 26th April.

You can read the River Restoration Centre’s press release on all the category winners and finalists here (UK_River_Prize_Finalists) and further details on our sister website, the Wandle Trust.

Recruiting: Part-time River Wandle Education Officer

LWLPS LOGOWe are recruiting a part-time River Education Officer to develop teaching packs and a ‘river in the classroom’ project as part of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme.

This is a brand new role and will be based on the River Wandle in south London.

Further details are available here: EducationOfficer_JobDescriptionFeb2015.

To apply, please send email a CV (2 pages max) and a covering letter (2 pages max) focusing on your relevant experience, knowledge and skills, before 5pm on Monday 6th April.

HighImpact logo CMYK

 

What have we been up to?

We have had a busy start to 2015 – maybe it is time for you to catch up with what we have been up to?

River Restoration ~ Luke has been busy transforming the Ravensbury Park Back Channel on the River Wandle for both the local community and wildlife. Read all about his progress here.

Pollution Control ~ Olly has been working hard trialling new methods to mitigate against urban diffuse pollution. We have trialled Siltex in Carshalton Ponds and installed Mycofilters at problematic outfalls.

Looking Forward ~ We’ve got restoration projects this year on the Hogsmill and Beverley Brook so keep your eyes peeled for more updates!

Recruiting: Invasive Non-Native Species Officer

The Wandle Trust (part of the South East Rivers Trust) is recruiting a part-time Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) Officer to help coordinate and deliver work to tackle aquatic INNS on the River Wandle.

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

INNS can have a negative impact on rivers by both directly out-competing native species and indirectly altering habitats, for example by causing the excessive ingress of silt which can smother the natural gravel riverbed.

The post is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and is part of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership, a programme which involves the local community in the restoration and enhancement of the River Wandle landscape.

The Project Officer will be responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the River Wandle Invasive Non-Native Species Action Plan and Work Programme.  The role will involve both coordinating the work of a range of partners and contributing to the delivery of the INNS Work Programme.

This post is now closed.

The Problem with Urban Duck Ponds

Carshalton PondsIn a highly developed landscape such as Greater London, urban ponds can provide an important haven for wildlife and therefore it is important to keep the waters happy and healthy.

Unfortunately over time urban ponds tend to fill up with sediment washed from the surrounding area such as leaf litter and bird droppings. Have you ever been for a walk along the Wandle to Carshalton? If you have, you will have undoubtedly seen a mass gathering of wildfowl at the ponds. These high densities of geese and ducks can be a particular problem with their droppings increasing the organic content of the ponds, resulting in algae blooms and a deterioration in the water quality.

Birds Birds Birds

So what can we do?

The Wandle Trust are trialling Siltex in Carshalton Ponds as a potential solution to the surplus of silt.

Siltex

Siltex is a natural chalk-like substance which helps to increase the speed of silt breakdown by stimulating natural processes. It is environmentally friendly and is harmless to plants and animals.

In the next week, we will be applying the Siltex powder to the mud in Carshalton Ponds. The effects of Siltex will then be monitored closely over the next few months by our staff to determine the effectiveness of the measure and its effects on water quality.

We will of course keep you updated with our news – so keep your eyes out for more Siltex blogs.

Pollution-Busting on the Wandle

Over the last 2 years, the Wandle Trust has been intensifying efforts to tackle the considerable problem of pollution in the river. Often contamination can be tackled by our partners in the Environment Agency, tracking down pollution to the source. However, this does not work for all sources of contamination.

For example, contaminants such as particles from car exhaust, the loss of engine oil and other contaminants from the roads can all be washed into the river from no one “point” source. This is known as diffuse pollution.

DiffusePollutionTo illustrate this, there are about 2.5 million cars in London, and 16% of them leak oil. It has been calculated that this would equate to 261,635 gallons of oils dripping onto roads every year! Much of this oil will work its way into London’s surface water drains and then the rivers.

Although changes to the law and car technology may help one day in the future, we need to start acting now. It has been the Wandle Trust’s mission to find out how the contaminated waters from the surface water drains can be cleaned up before entering our river. This is vitally important because water quality is a major determinant of what wildlife can live in the rivers, how beautiful the rivers are, and how much the community value their local water landscapes.

In the current phase of our Pollution Busting Project, four measures are being installed and trialled to determine their effectiveness in reducing the contamination coming into the River Wandle. These measures are the most promising selected from several which were investigated by the Trust and they are called:

  • Downstream Defenders
  • Mycofilters
  • Siltex
  • Smart Sponges

There will be more information about these appearing on our websites in the coming months. We look forward to telling you more about this exciting new phase of our work!

A little light goes a long way..

Our work on the River Wandle continues with a habitat and fish passage project on the Ravensbury Park by-pass channel. This work will address habitat deficiencies, stream form and fish passage around the tilting weir which is a significant barrier to upstream fish movement. To read more about this project click here.

Toe-boarded and impounded nature of the back channel

Toe-boarded and impounded nature of the back channel

Concrete lined banks as well as over shaded character that limits aquatic vegetation  growth

Concrete lined banks as well as the over shaded character that limits aquatic vegetation growth

Earthwatch & South East Rivers Trust Wandle Walk

Working in partnership with Earthwatch, the South East Rivers Trust were proud to host two river walks along the Wandle as part of the H2O Development Programme.

Wandle Walking

The H2O Development Programme is a unique opportunity for participants to learn about environmental issues, spend time outdoors working with scientists and community members, and explore what sustainability means to organisations – and to them. During the programme, participants become citizen scientists and take an active role in scientific data gathering by joining the global FreshWater Watch community working together to promote freshwater sustainability.

Talking and Walking

Bella and I gave our banking guests a tour of the River Wandle from Carshalton Ponds to our river restoration works on Butterhill, sharing the journey of our Trust from its volunteer beginnings to its current expansion into the South East Rivers Trust.

Water Sampling

On both walks, we also stopped to take water samples from the Wandle, comparing the water quality at the groundwater source (Carshalton Ponds) with water further downstream.

We were even lucky enough to see a kingfisher and a heron on our walks!

Heron

All photos courtesy of Earthwatch.

Earthwatch

FreshWater Watch

Welcome to Luke, Olly and Polly!

Three new members of staff have recently joined the SERT team.

Luke Mitchell is joining us to work on river restoration projects; Olly van Biervliet will be running our water quality projects; and Polly Bryant will be running our volunteer events.

We are delighted to have them on board and that they’re so enthusiastic – within half an hour of arriving at the Trust, they were already getting stuck in planting up our river restoration on the River Wandle!

Luke, Polly and Olly get stuck in

Luke, Polly and Olly get stuck in!

 

 

New book: The Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing

Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing

We are very excited to announce the recent publication of a new book by our Chairman of Trustees, Theo Pike, entitled ‘The Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing – and how to tackle other Invasive Non-Native Species’.

This ground-breaking 96-page handbook includes more than 40 invasive non-native species (INNS) such as Himalayan balsam, giant hogweed, Chinese mitten crabs, signal crayfish and mink, with practical advice on how individuals and community groups like ours can take action against them or stop them spreading further.

Even reporting a sighting of oak processionary moths or Asian longhorn beetles can make a big difference to protecting our natural biodiversity, and there is also a section on biosecurity measures like Defra’s Check-Clean-Dry advice.

Copies of the ‘Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing’ are available direct from the publishers, Merlin Unwin Books, or you can buy a signed copy from Theo at one of our community balsam bashing and  river cleanup events on the Wandle or Hogsmill!

The South East Rivers Trust makes headlines in The Angler

The Angler - front cover

There’s a great article about the origins of the South East Rivers Trust in the latest issue of The Angler, the Angling Trust’s new-look magazine, which has been dropping through members’ letter boxes over the weekend.

The Angling Trust was instrumental in helping the Wandle Trust (now evolving into the South East Rivers Trust) to negotiate the 5-year Living Wandle project funding for the river’s restoration, after the notorious pollution incident in 2007, and its Fish Legal team are constantly negotiating and fighting court cases on behalf of other rivers and their local residents.

If you’re already a member of the Angling Trust, keep an eye out for the article. And if you’re not yet a member, but you enjoy fishing one or more of the rivers across south eastern England, we highly recommend joining the Trust and supporting one of the great forces for good in the conservation world!