Saturday, 18 May 2013

Friends of Henllys LNR do our bit for Clean Coasts Week

3 volunteers from Henllys Local Nature Reserve (LNR) picked up 9 bags of litter, a Garden incinerator converted from a gas cylinder, a car rim amongst other things as part of Clean Coasts Week.

We continued upstream from where we went last month and found loads of stuff, some dumped over people's fences and others washed from street litter in the rain. We pulled out several small rugs and some broken chicken feeders. However, most of the stuff we pulled out was very similar to that which we found at events on the coast in Monmouthshire and down on the banks of the River Rumney in Cardiff earlier this week for Clean Coasts Week. This includes, plastic bottles, crisp packets, sweet wrappers and plastic. So if does flow downstream past our reserve and eventually down into the sea at Newport.
The 16 mile route of litter (& Himalayan balsam seeds) from Henllys Local Nature Reserve to the coast (Map can be viewed in more detail here: 
A selection of photos from the 110 events undertaken across Wales' coastline for Clean Coasts Week can be viewed here:

After our litterpick, we decided to look at the progress of some of our winter activities and we were really impressed. All of our willow defences have started to sprout including the big one across the chasm.
Our sprouting willow defences to limit erosion
 Interestingly, growing from the backfilled material I dug out from the blocked culvert, mainly sand, was loads of Himalayan balsam. Moreover, where the drainage teams from the council had desilted the culvert and dumped it on top of our willow defences, these are also packed full of Himalayan balsam.
balsam growing in the silt
This clearly demonstrated the dangers of moving river bed materials which are contaminated with balsam seeds. There is also balsam growing where we have never seen it before and it could only have got there by the treads of shoes or dogs feet. It also demonstrates the vicious circle of Himalayan balsam. It grows by stream edges, outcompetes other vegetation, sets seeds and the shallow roots means more erosion and even worse, this eroded silt is heavily laded with Himalayan balsam seed and the problem escalates and spreads elsewhere.

On a positive note, the mini-orchard provided by Gwent Wildlife Trust is looking really good. Even the one which Cllr. Burnett taped back together with electrician's tape is in leaf. The varieties are as follows: St. Cecilia, Birith mawr, Machen & Cissy more can be read about these here:
Tricia's husbands electrician tape saves one of the apple trees and is in leaf.
All of our pictures from today can be looked at here:

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