Thanks to everyone’s incredible efforts over the last few years tackling invasive species Himalayan Balsam in the Rothay catchment, we're now seeing it in sharp decline here, and we are not holding a Big Balsam Bash event this year.

Left: Himalayan balsam patch before Fight the Aliens Day 2019

For our first Fight the Aliens Day in 2019, we witnessed the true extent of the balsam around Rydal village, allocating 31 people in 5 groups, plus 3 people armed with petrol strimmers on 6 patches.  It took 3 hours to cover the area, and even then, we failed to visit every bit of the infested area.  We probably despatched thousands, if not tens of thousands of plants.

In 2023, we covered the same 6 patches, plus some additional areas found since, in just over 3 hours.  There were about 320 plants in total.  We definitely have it on the run at Rydal and now only a small group of dedicated ‘Balsam Bailiffs’ is needed to keep the invasive species at bay.

Left, the same patch before Fight the Aliens Day 2021.

If you live locally and would like to help out there are regular work parties with the South Cumbria Rivers Trust or you can take on your own patch. 
Contact [email protected] for more information.  The full report on the control of Himalayan Balsam in the Rothay catchment it is available to read at the link below (pdf).

Control of infestations of Himalayan balsam in the Rothay Catchment Report for 2022 and Proposals for 2023 and beyond

Jayne Wilkinson Strategic Partnerships Manager at South Cumbria Rivers Trust said:

"It’s been fantastic to see the combined efforts, over several years, from many people and organisations to control Himalayan balsam around Rydal. It’s really making a difference. We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed in any form over the years.”