Our usual programme to get volunteers hand-pulling the invasive Himalayan balsam in the Calder Valley has received a hit this year with the COVID-19 lockdown – it has not been possible to organise work parties, and we were originally hoping to be working with teams of young people to really blitz the plant this season.
There has been some useful work taking place however, especially in the Upper Valley where there have been unofficial socially-distanced balsam-pulls around Mytholmroyd, at Nutclough Woods (Hebden Bridge) and at Tipside in Todmorden. The successor group of the Climate Action body Treesponsibility, which has the funky name Forus Tree, has also had its operatives out in the wooded cloughs of the Upper Valley, at Nutclough and at Colden Clough for example – targeting the balsam on the steeper slopes where ordinary volunteers cannot reach.
Local residents have had a big push since the first stems of balsam appeared in Nutclough in the springtime – you can follow their progress on the Friends’ Facebook page and there is a video on how to tackle the invasive plant on that page too – some of the stems in the wet flush above the woods were massive! The balsam has really taken off this season, due to the dry heatwave in June followed by a wet start to July – luckily it stopped raining for us to make a further video clip with the Todmorden Riverside Improvement Group (TRIG):