The Urbantrout Diaries: Bashing balsam

Superfine and balsam

The second episode of The Urbantrout Diaries recently went live on

For the first couple of years, it seemed our balsam-bashing efforts would never get off the stretch of river at Richmond Green, right where the infant Wandle trickles out of a concrete culvert on the boundary between Sutton and Croydon, echoing with post-industrial mockery of a proper karstic cave-mouth. 

This year, however, with many more of our regular volunteers realising the benefits of clearing the Himalayan balsam monoculture from the upper Wandle, we’ve suddenly seen much more progress. A big volunteer effort in partnership with Thames 21 and 500 corporate interns in August 2011 had already made a huge difference. In the meantime, I’d also taken took huge personal pleasure in clearing that bloody balsam from the Carshalton arm of the river, repeatedly sweeping the area around the famous ponds where, urban rumour insisted, a nameless park attendant had brought the spring-loaded seed-pods from Croydon because he thought the plants looked nice…

Click here to read the full feature (including shots at hefty urban chub and dace… sometimes it’s not all about the trout!)

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