What’s the Problem?

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive, non-native plant that reproduces rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering and pushing out our indigenous plants, particularly along riverbanks, lakeshores and the edges of streams. It was introduced to the UK in 1839 and quickly escaped into the wild. Our native species simply can’t compete.

It’s a huge problem and there’s no easy way to tackle it. Elbow grease and the energy and enthusiasm of willing volunteers are the most effective tools in fighting this alien invader.

The Fight the Aliens – Big Balsam Bash offers the chance for you to get to grips (literally) with this increasingly pervasive weed.

What’s happening at the Fight the Aliens – Big Balsam Bash?

On Saturday 20th July, we want to bring together a fighting force of volunteers to work in 7 groups around Rydal to attempt a mass-removal of Himalayan Balsam. The aim is to clear the Rydal area of the infestation, to reduce the regrowth and prevent the ongoing spread to other areas of the Lakes.

The majority of the work will involve pulling Balsam by hand and breaking the stem at the root. It’s not technical so anyone who’s physically mobile can do it. Skilled and qualified brush-cutters will also be on site to do the jobs that would be too time-consuming for hands.

It’s a very satisfying task!

How you can help tackle the problem.

Simply give us a few hours of your time and effort on Saturday 20th July – from 9.30am - 1.30pm or thereabouts - and we’ll supply the gloves, cake and refreshments!

And if you enjoy the event so much you find yourself saying “That was great fun! When can I do it again?” we’d welcome your help later in the year, as well as in 2020. Himalayan Balsam is a pesky little blighter and will stage a come-back so we’ll need to continue the fight to see it off completely.

Sign up to help Fight the Aliens below. We’ll send you all the info you need for a safe, fun and satisfying day.

Fight the Aliens – Big Balsam Bash is a partnership campaign between Friends of the Lake District and South Cumbria Rivers Trust with the support of the following:


Rydal Estate and C & S Hodgson (Rydal Hall Farm)

Personal information you give us will be passed to walk leaders on the day.

*Please note: full details of where to be, what to wear, what to bring etc will be emailed to you a week before the event.

This event has been so popular, we're really sorry it is full.

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