For the third year running, in partnership with South Cumbria Rivers Trust, we're calling for a fighting force of volunteers to work in groups around Rydal to attempt a mass-removal of Himalayan Balsam on Saturday 10th July.

Ruth Kirk, Landscape Engagement Officer said,

“Over the past two years, a willing army of volunteers have removed hundreds of thousands of these non-native plants. The difference is obvious in the areas that we’ve hit hard. But Himalayan Balsam is a pesky and persistent blighter; it creeps back again. However, bit by bit, each year, we are seeing a good reduction and this allows native species to flourish once more.

“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. And it is an immensely satisfying and oddly addictive task!”

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.

Pictured: Volunteer Dave Emery tackling Himalayan Balsam

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 2021 offers the chance for people to get to grips (literally) with this increasingly pervasive weed. You can help tackle the problem by giving a few hours of your time and effort to this satisfying task on the morning of Saturday 10th July.

Anyone wanting to get involved can sign up via our events page or by contacting [email protected] Booking is essential.

The event is also supported by the National Trust, Lake District National Park, Lowther Estates, Rydal Estate, C&S Hodgson (Rydal Hall Farm) and Rydal Hall.