About

Himalayan Balsam removal

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive non-native plant species that has taken over a lot of the river banks in the UK.

This year we have already hand pulled Himalayan Balsam across an area of over 50 hectares in the Calder Valley. Although hand pulling the plants is hard work, it is the most effective method of removing Himayan Balsam in order to restore the original biodiversity of these river banks.

In the future, we would like to combine this with wildflower planting on the most adversely affected sites to promote a quick healthy recovery of the original flora. We believe it’s important to use locally sourced wildflower seed, which we intend to collect with local volunteers, home ed groups and local schools. 

Spending time outdoors in nature is proven to help people that suffer from health issues, anxiety, stress and depression, which is now more important than ever before, given the difficult circumstances we are all facing due to Covid-19.

Tree planting

Since January 2020, we have already hand planted over 22,000 trees using manual cultivation (screefing) to eliminate the need for herbicides, while encouraging landowners to plant trees on land that is not being used for agricultural purposes.

So far we are expecting to plant in excess of 50,000 trees this coming season, one of which is a site where we will be planting without the use of plastic tubing, which is used throughout the UK to protect the young trees from deer and other animals. We strongly believe that planting with plastic tubing is not sustainable and we would like to eliminate it from our practice in the future.

We work closely with various local tree planting organisations like Treesponsibility to get trees planted on some of their more challenging sites which wouldn't be suitable for volunteers.

Leaky Dams

So far this year we have secured landowner agreements for over 450m of living willow revetments which consist of 20 cuttings per metre and will grow to create natural living leaky dams which help prevent local flooding caused by heavy rainfalls.

We work with Calderdale Council, Environment Agency, and various local organisations to deliver local natural flood management interventions.

River Cleaning

We are very pleased to venture into new waters this year. We have been doing river cleanups collaboratively with a number local organisations like Calder Future, Calder and Holme Rivers Trust and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust as part of their local river stewardship agreements with Calderdale Council the Environment Agency.

This gives us a great opportunity to explore all the nooks and crannies in these valleys and a cool refreshing change from our fencing and balsam bashing activities in the summer.

Hedging

This year we have been fortunate to secure funding for hedging in species rich grasslands and protected SSSI land through Bettys Trees for Life.

We have already secured local landowner agreements to plant over 700m of hedging this season which consists of 6 trees per metre. We hope to plant over 5km of new hedging every season to create vital nature corridors and wildlife habitats to link up existing woodlands, prevent surface runoff and create effective stock and deer fencing.

The humble hedge will last a lifetime if looked after and maintained properly and contribute to a healthier balance with nature.

Fencing

In order to protect the sites we plant trees on, we often have to protect the site with stock fencing or deer fencing. We do all of our own fencing work and we pride ourselves on delivering quality fences that serve their purpose at great value for money.

We endeavour to use local suppliers for our fencing needs. We buy our fencing materials from Calvag Agricultural Supplies which is a local family owned business that has in depth knowledge of our local area and can deliver materials to very remote sites on our behalf.

Erosion control

We work with local landowners to address erosion caused by heavy rainfall. Trees perform remarkably when established but this takes time.

We use willow cuttings and fascines as a natural method for erosion control and banking stabilization in order to prevent further erosion.

Fascines are rough bundles of brash or other materials usually made from materials on site to strengthen bankings and create small terraces which allow flora, fauna and trees to establish and secure the banking. Fascines are secured in place with living willow stakes to ensure quick establishment.

Willow (Salix Viminalis) is a hardy vigorous variety and very versatile material which is traditionally used for living structures, fishing baskets, waste filtration, furniture and soil erosion control.

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