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. 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.

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

On Saturday 16th July, we want to bring together a fighting force of volunteers to work in a number of groups around Grasmere, Rydal and Under Loughrigg to attempt a mass-removal of Himalayan Balsam. The aim is to clear this 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 to Pull Balsam video

How you can help tackle the problem.

Simply give us a few hours of your time and effort on Saturday 16th July – and we’ll supply the gloves, cake and refreshments!

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

We expect to change the format a bit in 2023 so if you want to be involved again next year, speak to Kay, Jayne, Ken or your group leader.

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 (SCRT).

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. 

If you would like more information about this event then please contact Kay Andrews our Landscape Engagement Officer. Email [email protected]


Further visits to pull Himalayan Balsam will be needed if we are to eradicate the balsam, both later in 2022 and in the subsequent few years.If you want to sign up for one or more of these further events, please visit SCRT website: https://scrt.co.uk/events/balsam-bashing/


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Fight The Aliens-Big Balsam Bash

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