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 with this increasingly pervasive weed.

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

Last year we brought together a fighting force of volunteers to work in groups around Rydal to attempt a mass-removal of Himalayan Balsam. They did a fantastic job and the difference is obvious in the areas that we hit hard last year. But Himalayan Balsam is a pesky and persistent blighter; it creeps back again so the bashing needs doing for a few more years to eradicate it. 

Most 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 to Pull Balsam video

How you can help tackle the problem.
Simply give us a few hours of your time and effort on Saturday 10 July. We will put all the necessary precautions in place to ensure your safety in relation to Covid-19.

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

We are quietly hopeful that this year, relaxed Covid restrictions will mean that we can provide tea and cakes to all volunteers. Hurrah!

* Covid-19 Advice and Information.

    • We will be following government guidelines that are current at the time in relation to Covid 19.
    • If you have booked on to the event but feel unwell prior to 10th July or on the day, or have been in contact with others or are unwell with possible Covid-19 symptoms, please do not attend on the day.

    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 between Friends of the Lake District and South Cumbria Rivers Trust with support from:


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

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

    *More information about parking and meeting arrangements will be sent to you approx one week before the event.

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

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