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Himalayan Balsam 'Big Pull Week' in the Staffordshire Moorlands

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 18, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

Gerry Grant pulling Himalayan Balsam at Alton Bridge.

Gerry Grant pulling Himalayan Balsam at Alton Bridge.

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Community groups are being urged to help remove an invasive species of plant.

Last year's Himalayan Balsam 'Big Pull Week' in and around the Staffordshire Moorlands was a great success.

Troughout the summer community groups and individual volunteers of all ages helped in the fight against the plant.

From June to September more than 800 volunteer hours were logged tackling Balsam alongside the canals and waterways of the Churnet as part of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP) initiative.

Scouts, anglers, canal and railway volunteers all pitched in to help, working on areas of the Churnet and Caldon Canal from Longsdon down to Alton.

Gerry Grant, one of the CVLLP volunteers, said: It's great to feel involved in this concerted effort to protect native wildlife in the Churnet Valley by helping to remove this problem plant."

A spokesman for CVLLP added: "Himalayan Balsam was introduced into Britain in the mid 19th century by Victorian gardeners and this aggressive plant is now overtaking large areas of the valley, crowding out our native species and exposing our stream and river banks to erosion. So pretty as the Balsam may look we are trying to remove it. We are asking for your help again during Big Pull Week, July 19-27, either by removing the plants while out walking or by joining one of the work parties the CVLLP will be co-ordinating at various hotspots in the area."

The following 'Pulls' have already been arranged: The Holly Bush at Denford on Monday, July 21, from 7pm until 9pm, organised by the Inland Waterways Association; Dimmingsdale on Wednesday, July 23, from 10am until 3pm, oganised by CVLLP; Cecilly Brook in Cheadle on Thursday, July 24, from 10am until 3pm, organised by the Friends of Cecilly Brook; Consall on Thursday, July 24, from 10am until 3pm, organised by the Inland Waterways Association.

Further details can be found on the CVLLP website calendar at www.churnet-valley.org.uk or by contacting Helen Anderson on 01538381356 or email: HelenAnderson@smcvs.co.uk.

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