Battle continues against Himalayan Balsam

October 03 2017

The River Frome has been the scene of a battle over the summer as volunteers try to check the advance of an invasive weed.

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The River Frome has been the scene of a battle over the summer as volunteers try to check the advance of an invasive weed.

This action, organised by Frampton Cotterell Village Action, aims to reduce the amount of Himalayan Balsam along the River Frome. This invasive, non-native plant has no natural checks to its growth so it out competes native wildflowers and forms dense clumps which reduce biodiversity on the riverbank. 

It also increases the risk of riverbank erosion as it leaves large areas of bare soil when it dies back in the autumn. It is an annual plant which grows from seed every year so the key to getting it under control is to prevent it from setting seed.

A group of volunteers have been going out to clear patches of balsam along the Frome from Cogmill down to Nightingale Bridge. 

Phil Handy, who coordinates the group, said; “We’ve seen a marked improvement in areas we've tackled in previous years and, as we get areas under control, we’ve been able to spend more time reaching places which are less easily accessible. Reinfestation is always possible but, by regular clearing, we can stop it forming dense clumps.”

“We welcome anyone who wants to join one of our working parties which are a good way to get gentle exercise in friendly company while enjoying the natural world down by the river.”

“People walking along the Frome Valley Walkway can also help. The roots of himalayan balsam are very shallow so it’s easy to pull out, crush and pile up where it can rot down.”

To find out more, visit the Village Action website www.villageaction.org.uk or email framcottva@hotmail.co.uk .