WISP News & Events

Upcoming Events 

If you’d like to add your Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) events here and have us promote them via our social media channels please do get in touch with us at projects@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


Wed 4 May 2022, 7pm – Wye Valley AONB Unit talk about Invasive Non-Native Species in the Wye Valley AONB – Llandogo Village Produce Assoc. (VPA) at Llandogo Millennium Hall. Contact: Sue Wilderspin –  sue.wilderspin@btinternet.com


Fri 6 May 2022 – American Skunk Cabbage control trial and filming in Brockweir – Hewelsfield and Whitebrook. Contact: Wye Valley AONB Unit, Nickie Moore projects@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


Sat 14 May 2022 – Balsam pulling and litter picking, Bishops Meadow, Hereford. All Welcome! Contact: St James & Bartonsham Community Association (JABA). Visit www.jaba.org.uk for more information.


16th May – 22nd May INVASIVE SPECIES WEEK! GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (GBNNSS)


Mon 16th May – INVASIVE SPECIES WEEK: We start this week with the launch of our new Himalayan Balsam Action Toolkit – designed to support community action groups and individuals who are setting up a new group or running events to tackle this pest plant. More info to come. Contact: Wye Valley AONB Unit, Nickie Moore projects@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


Wed 18 May 2022 – INVASIVE SPECIES WEEK: Wye Valley AONB Unit Appeal for Japanese knotweed records to help us understand more about the spread and target treatment. Send your reports and photos by clicking here: Report It! 


Fri 20 May 2022 INVASIVE SPECIES WEEK: Balsam Training Day at Tintern Village Hall with the AONB Unit, WaREN and Wye & Usk Foundation. All Welcome!  Free event. Booking required (so we can assess how many cakes to get in 😉 )

Eventbrite booking click here or copy this: https://bit.ly/3jukmAy into your address bar.

For more information click here or copy this: https://bit.ly/37AdvD2 into your address bar.

Contact: Wye Valley AONB Unit, Ellie Baggett naturerecovery@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


Sun 22nd May – INVASIVE SPECIES WEEK: Balsam bashing with Friends of Bartonsham Meadow, Bartonsham Meadow, Hereford. Everyone welcome! Contact: info@friendsofbartonshammeadows.org


Sat 28 May 2022 – Balsam Training Day at Llandogo Millennium Hall, NP25 4TJ  with the AONB Unit, WaREN and Wye & Usk Foundation. All Welcome!  Free event. Booking required (so we can assess how many cakes to get in 😉  )

Eventbrite booking click here or copy this: https://bit.ly/3uwUavK into your address bar.

For more information click here or copy this: https://bit.ly/3jrYCFB into your address bar.

Wye Valley AONB Unit, Ellie Baggett naturerecovery@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


Mon 6 June 2022 – The start of our ‘Give Cherry Laurel the Chop’ campaign with contractors starting cherry laurel control work Cleddon Shoots Woodland SSSI, Llandogo. Contact: Wye Valley AONB Unit, Nickie Moore projects@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


Sun 12 JuneBalsam bashing with Friends of Bartonsham Meadow, Bartonsham Meadow, Hereford. All Welcome! Contact: info@friendsofbartonshammeadows.org


Sat 18 June 2022Big Balsam Bashing Bonanza at Brockweir – Everyone welcome! More details to follow. Contact: Wye Valley AONB Unit, Nickie Moore projects@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


Sun 19 June 2022Big Balsam Bash at Brockweir with Operation Raleigh Alumni. Contact: Wye Valley AONB Unit, Nickie Moore projects@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


Sun 10 July 2022 – The AONB Unit’s WISP Team will be joining WYE JULY for the day at Lower Green, Monmouth. Contact: friendsofthelowerwye@gmail.com 


TBC August 2022 – American skunk cabbage control trial in Brockweir – Hewelsfield. Contact: Wye Valley AONB Unit, Nickie Moore projects@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


TBC September 2022 – Year 4 Japanese knotweed control programme commences. Contact: Wye Valley AONB Unit, Nickie Moore projects@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk


Wed 15 February 2023 – Wye Valley AONB Unit talk about Invasive Non-Native Species in the Wye Valley AONB – St Briavels WI


 

Past Events

Archenfield Community Environment Day, 26 March 2022

It was a beautiful sunny Saturday for the Archenfield Community Environment Day and the AONB Team had such a productive day at our WISP stand. We heard from many who were dismayed about the spread of Himalayan balsam around the local catchment, and we grasped the opportunity to gauge opinion about our newly developing Balsam Action Toolkit.  Feedback was incredibly positive and enthusiastic for this new resource, which we’re designing specifically to help grass-roots groups to get active in tackling this pest plant.

We’re aiming to launch the toolkit this April, so watch this space!

Ellie at the Wye Invasive Species Project (WISP) stand

Ellie at the Wye Invasive Species Project (WISP) stand.

Nickie gauging opinion about our draft Balsam Action Toolkit designed to support volunteer action groups.

Ellie and the Archenfield Community Environment Group at the WISP stand with our draft Balsam Action Toolkit

WISP at Brockweir, summer 2022

Our aims were to join local communities together at Brockweir to bring Himalayan balsam under better control on the main River Wye in Brockweir, to stop it encroaching further into adjacent woodlands and species-rich meadows. We also wanted to raise awareness and demonstrate how easily balsam can be managed. Plus community INNS mapping and ground-truthing records. 

We met on four dates through August, with two balsam pulling sessions each day. The ‘WISP HQ’ for the four days was the Moravian Chapel School Room near the riverbank in Brockweir. INNS information, toilets, wash hand facilities and refreshments were available through the day here, plus maps for the community mapping exercise and landowner/resident consent (access and INNS control) forms. 

Wye Valley AONB team, volunteers and SARA tackling Himalayan balsam in Brockweir (August 2021).

Deep in the jungle! Helping to stop balsam encroaching into the species rich meadows above (August 2021).

The crew of SARA hauling pulled Himalayan balsam up the riverbank (August 2021). Photo courtesy of SARA.

Here are some facts and figures from the events….

Time & area covered

  • 4 days of community balsam bashing at Brockweir
  • 5ha of river bank was cleared of balsam alongside the Offa’s Dyke National Trail.
  • 6ha of semi-natural wildflower meadows and semi-improved pasture, was managed to control balsam with a combination of hand pulling and machinery.

Volunteer-power and new connections

  • 33 volunteers took part in Himalayan balsam pulling over 4 days in Brockweir, including:
    • 6 volunteers from SARA’s amphibious team over 2 days.
    • 8 volunteers made sandwiches at Brockweir & Hewelsfield Community shop.
    • 2 volunteer from the Moravian Chapel gave support by providing the ‘WISP HQ’, helping to contact local landowners as part of the mapping exercise and generally spreading the word.
    • 3 volunteers put up posters and helped spread the word.
    • 6 landowners signed agreements to allow access to their land.
  • 1 new volunteer group (8+ people) has established itself in Llandogo after we put them in touch with each other after the Brockweir events. This group is now being supported to map the extent of balsam around their community with a view to commence pulling up plants next spring/summer in their local catchment.
  • A second volunteer group is potentially forming in upper Brockweir and will be supported to map the extent of balsam around their community with a view to commence pulling up plants next spring/summer in the upper catchment around Brockweir and Hewelsfield.
  • Several members of the public stopped and chatted, thanked volunteers or dropped into the WISP HQ to find out more information about species and local action
  • Two new local INNS contractors made contact with advice and offers of support.

A massive THANK YOU to WISP supporters and funders!

We were supported by SARA (Severn Area Recue Assoc.) and a big thank you to Richard and the team for helping out with this work. We would also like to thank the committee from the Moravian Chapel, Sue Groves and Mary Harris who hosted us. And of course a very big thank you to Severn Trent who are helping to fund WISP (on the English side of the lower Wye Valley) through their Boost for Biodiversity fund.

Menu