Volunteers Pull Together to Fight the Aliens On Saturday 11th July, the area around Rydal saw a targeted effort from over 60 volunteers to hand pull an infestation of non-native Himalyan Balsam. This pervasive species reproduces rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering and pushing out our indigenous plants, particularly along riverbanks, lakeshores and the edges of streams. The Fight the Aliens event was organised in partnership between ourselves and South Cumbria Rivers Trust. Pictured: Volunteer Kathleen Aubrey with Balsam Ruth Kirk, our Landscape Engagement Officer said, “With the impact and restrictions of Covid-19 regulations we initially thought we would not be able to go ahead with our second year of a mass balsam bash around the Rydal area. We had great success last year but Himalayan Balsam is a pesky blighter and needs repeated pulls for a number of years to stop it spreading. “Thankfully, as lockdown relaxed, we were able to go ahead with the event with volunteers working safely in small groups. We were delighted that so many turned out to help and make such a difference. We have pulled and strimmed millions of the plants and we think this is probably one of the biggest balsam bashes ever undertaken. “The task of ‘balsam bashing’ is not technical and is very satisfying. Elbow grease and the energy and enthusiasm of willing volunteers are the most effective tools in fighting this alien invader. We will be having a second event on Friday 31st July. New volunteers are very welcome!” Pictured: Volunteer Dave Emery Balsam Bashing The event is also supported by the National Trust, Lake District National Park, Lowther Estates, Rydal Estate, C&S Hodgson (Rydal Hall Farm). Anyone wanting to get involved in our next bash on Friday 31st July can sign up here> Or contact [email protected] 01539 720788. Booking is essential.