Every Tuesday throughout June and July our team of conservation volunteers have been working with us as part of a long term project to remove Himalayan balsam from the river Valency catchment in Boscastle. Yesterday was our last outing to uproot this non-native, invasive species. Disturbing the seed pods can cause them to explode spreading the seeds several metres so we stop uprooting the plant as soon as the pods are ripe, or we run the risk of making the problem worse.
We have been stung by nettles, scratched by brambles, wilted by the sun and eaten alive by horseflies but we carried on unhindered and I am pleased to say we have made huge progress. It was also very encouraging that in some areas along the valley there has been a marked reduction in the presence and density of the balsam. This year we have concentrated mainly in the upper parts of the catchment but we will only be able to see if our efforts have been rewarded if next year we see a further decrease in the number of balsam plants.
We cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has helped us on this project. We could not attempt to do this with out their help and we are, as ever, hugely grateful for their continued support. I hear they are already looking forward to more of the same next year!