Nature Conservation Lewisham

Get involved in Lewisham's parks and nature reserves


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Lewisham DWP help out with the 3 Rivers Clean UP

Wading in the Ravensbourne

Wading in the Ravensbourne

A merry bunch of eager volunteers from the Lewisham branch of DWP came out on a wade today as part of the 3 Rivers Clean Up.  16 of us waded from Ladywell Fields to Catford and managed to pull out 10 bags of rubbish, a bin and a trolley.  The trolley came in very handy when we had to take all the rubbish back to base! A big thank you to all of the staff that came – we hope to see you again next year!

The 3 Rivers Clean up is a is a three-week long intensive annual volunteer campaign to improve the rivers Ravensbourne, Pool and Quaggy in South East London.  Now in its eighth year, this unique 3 Rivers Clean Up partnership program has been highly successful in removing and preventing the spread of Himalayan Balsam and other species such as Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed, in the Ravensbourne River catchment. Removing invasive species is the main focus, however, the 3 Rivers Clean Up is a great opportunity to remove all the rubbish and debris that builds up within this urban river catchment.

 

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Clearing the Ravensbourne in Beckenham Place Park

3 Sophie and Jess

Clearing the Ravensbourne

As part of the 3 Rivers Clean Up the Nature’s Gym volunteers cleared part of the River Ravensbourne in Beckenham Place Park.  Their work involved picking up litter and pulling up Himalayan Balsam.  Himalayan Balsam is one of a number of invasive species that you can find along our rivers.  This one however is easy to treat with willing volunteers! There is something quite special about wading in a river while dappled sunlight dances across the water! When you are down there you really would not guess that you are in an inner London Borough.

Along with a number of other local groups we run lots of rivers sessions throughout the year.  This doesn’t always involved pulling Balsam, but if this is something that you would like to get involved in, please visit our Friends at the Rivers and People blog.

The video below, filmed with Tom Morgan of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust hows how to remove Himalayan balsam late in the season where it has been allowed to set seed. Himalayan balsam, a weed, is popular with bee keepers due to its high nectar content and late season flowering. However, research has shown it to negatively impact on native invertebrate abundance. The British Beekeepers Association advise that the plant is removed BEFORE it sets seed.