Help rid the nature reserve of Himalayan balsam!

Himalayan balsam - STOP the spread. [Adapted from an image by ceridwen; licence: by-sa-2.0]

Local residents are being invited to get involved in the fight against an invasive weed that has become a problem in Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve, across South Gloucestershire and beyond.

Himalayan balsam is a non-native plant which is found along our rivers and streams and its seeds can quickly spread, smothering other native flowers and vegetation as it goes. The balsam can take over so much that the river banks are left completely bare during the winter months which can lead to increased erosion.

To help stop the spread, South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has launched a conservation campaign called the Big Pull and it is looking for individuals, community groups and businesses to get involved and help pull up the weeds.

It is running free workshops with practical demonstrations where you will learn how to identify, pull and dispose of Himalayan balsam.

In Bradley Stoke, a free workshop is being held in the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve on Monday 21st May from 6pm to 8pm – meet at Bradley Stoke Library at 6pm.

The workshop will be followed by a community action day on Saturday 2nd June at the nature reserve between 10am and 1pm. For more details, visit the Events page of the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group website.

Cllr James Hunt, SGC Executive Member for Communities, said:

“Himalayan balsam’s aggressive nature can be bad news for our native flowers and that’s why we are launching this campaign to stop the spread. It’s easy to pull up and you can do your bit for your local community and learn some conservation skills while enjoying South Gloucestershire’s many scenic spots. So why not come along to one of the workshops and see how you can get involved.”

Environmental Projects Officer John Morris added:

“We get requests from local organisations and businesses for ideas for team days out and this is a great way for a local employer to show their support for conservation by volunteering their staff for a few hours to help make a difference. If you can spare the time, we can offer free training and support.”

Booking a place on the workshop is advisable. Please call 01454 863592 or visit the Big Pull webpage for further information.

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  1. This weed has been encroaching on the nature reserve for several years now. I remember this being brought up as a concern several years ago, and the person who was concerned being told that they could not disturb the plants until they finish flowering! The problem with this is they then go on to seed and we now have many more plants!!
    It’s good to see that they are finally going to tackle the problem, but I fear it’s a few years too late.

  2. The Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group has been takling this problem for many years and hundreds of days of labour effort has already been expended. Many local businesses have also been involved, allowing staff team-building exercises on the reserve to help pull up the balsam.

    The extent of the problem is reducing, but the ongoing problem is the dormant seeds from years ago. There will be new plants for many years to come, but they will slowly reduce. You only have to look at the marsh to see the difference, 5 years ago this was just a mass of pink through the summer, but now there are many native plants coming back.

    Flurfy – Why not come along and help the pull?

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