An army of volunteers is gathering to help ‘Fight the Aliens’ at Rydal on Saturday 20th July between 9.30 am and 1.30 pm but more volunteers are needed to see off a space invader. 

A seemingly innocuous ‘foe’, 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. 

The event is being run in partnership between Friends of the Lake District and South Cumbria Rivers Trust. 

Ruth Kirk, Landscape Engagement Officer said, 

“Himalayan Balsam is a big problem and unfortunately there’s a massive infestation of the plant around Rydal Water. 

“This is why we’re recruiting an ‘army’ of willing volunteers to get stuck in to tackling the problem together. Elbow grease and the energy and enthusiasm of willing volunteers are very effective tools in fighting this alien invasion.

“The ‘Fight the Aliens – Big Balsam Bash’ offers the chance for us to get to grips (literally) with this increasingly pervasive weed. We have over 45 volunteers already signed up but we’d like to recruit more to get the best outcome. 

“We’re asking for just a few hours help on the morning of Saturday 20th July. It’s not technical so anyone who’s physically mobile can do it. It’s a very satisfying task and you’ll be rewarded with tea and cake and a great sense of achievement!” 

Anyone wanting to get involved can sign up at: or contact [email protected]  01539 720788. Booking is essential. 

Drinks and cakes will be supplied after the event at The Barn at Rydal Hall. The event is also supported by the National Trust, Lake District National Park, Lowther Estates, Rydal Estate, C&S Hodgson (Rydal Hall Farm) and Lakeland Canoe Club.