Recently, a group of The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) volunteers met up with representatives from the River Thame Conservation Trust, to help clear Himalayan balsam from the Bear Brook in Aylesbury.
The group had to battle its way through a jungle of nettles before being able to tackle the Himalayan balsam which had grown to a staggering nine or ten feet high in places. Clearance began in earnest and great progress was made along the brook, a tributary of the River Thame, which then in turn joins the River Thames at Dorchester-on-Thames, just south of Oxford.
In addition to simply pulling, snapping and stomping the Himalayan balsam, IWA also collected the pink blossoms from the plants and delivered them to Puddingstone Distillery in Tring, where they will help make a limited edition run of Himalayan balsam gin as part of the Campfire Gin range. Profits from the Himalayan balsam gin will go towards helping the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust with its work in the local area.
Commenting on the day’s activities, Jo Henderson, Media & Campaigns officer at IWA says, “Through our Pull Snap Stomp campaign, we have formed new partnerships with local organisations who are all trying to achieve the same goal, to eradicate Himalayan balsam from our waterways. By removing the plants from Bear Brook, we have hopefully helped stop the spread down into the larger water courses, for this year at least.”
She adds, “The River Thame Conservation Trust does some great work and runs regular Balsam Bashes which we hope to be more involved in in the future and of course we are all looking forward to sampling the Himalayan balsam gin from Puddingstone Distillery. We are always happy to support a local business, which is in turn supporting the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.”
This recent work party is an example of IWA’s goal to develop partnership projects across the UK. The aim is to bring together the efforts of different organisations and integrate their individual objectives towards one common goal, in this case, the eradication of Himalayan balsam.
To find out more about the IWA Pull Snap Stomp campaign, please visit: www.waterways.org.uk/himalayanbalsam.
To find out more about the work of River Thame Conservation Trust, please visit: https://riverthame.org/
To find out more about Puddingstone Distillery and the Himalayan balsam gin, please visit: https://puddingstonedistillery.com/limited-editions-gins/
To find out more about Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, please visit: https://www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/
For further press information, please contact: Jo Henderson, Campaigns & Media Officer, IWA on firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01494 783453 ext 618.
About The Inland Waterways Association
The Inland Waterways Association is the membership charity that works to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of canals and rivers. IWA is a national organisation with a network of volunteers and branches who deploy their expertise and knowledge to work constructively with navigation authorities, government and other organisations. The Association also provides practical and technical support to restoration projects through its expert Waterway Recovery Group.
About River Thame Conservation Trust
The River Thame Conservation Trust (RTCT) is a grassroots charity that operates in Oxfordshire/ Buckinghamshire that was formed in 2012 by a group of individuals who were passionate, but concerned about the seemingly declining state of the River Thame. From their growing concern they began to put in place the foundations of the trust that we know today with the aim of restoring the river to its former state.
RTCT has built on the motivation that galvanised those first volunteers to become a registered charity with a very small team of paid staff supported by a strong group of local trustees and an ever-growing band of active and engaged local people who volunteer on a range of tasks across the catchment.
About Puddingstone Distillery and Campfire Gin
Pitching camp on the boundary between classic and contemporary gins, award-winning Campfire Gin is produced in small batches by Puddingstone Distillery, which is the first gin distillery in Hertfordshire. It is situated at the base of Wilstone Reservoir, just five minutes from Tring in the beautiful Chiltern Hills.
Named Campfire Gin because Ben and Kate, the founders of Puddingstone Distillery, have enjoyed their best gin and tonics outside and around campfires. Campfire Gin can be found in selected delicatessens, off licences, bars and restaurants or from the distillery shop.
About Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is a local charity supported by people who care about protecting wildlife, including over 22,000 members. With volunteers, the wildlife trust manages a network of more than 40 nature reserves, covering over 1,900 acres. Beyond this, its vision is of a Living Landscape, where the trust works with others to improve towns and countryside for wildlife. Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is one of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK – who each share a vision for a Living Landscape and Living Seas, an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.