On a lovely autumn morning, 8 of us cleared the Floating Pennywort from Swan Island cut. A plank on a ladder made a useful bridge.
After a couple of hours work, it was satisfyingly clear of pennywort.
We organised this working party at short notice, because we discovered this hidden reservoir last weekend… If not dealt with, it would soon break up in the frosts and spread fragments to re- infest the rest of the river.
Our fight against Floating Pennywort has come to the attention of BBC Countryfile. On 25th October they filmed us at Kingfishers Bridge nature reserve showing their presenter (Sean Fletcher) how we tackle Floating Pennywort
The film Director, Jo, has came up with an entertaining and informative story line, shown on BBC 1 5:30pm on Sunday 18th November. It’s available on iplayer until mid december 2018 here. Our bit starts 15minutes in.
The same episode features Kingfishers Bridge’s Water buffalo, Donald and Dumbo, who’re also getting stuck in helping protect Kingfishers Bridge from the Pennywort …. We think Donald might be the true star of the show!
This website is a project of our friends in the River Mel Restoration Group.
Waterlight was inspired by a chalk stream in Cambridgeshire. It began as a collaboration between poet and writer Clare Crossman and filmmaker James Murray-White, and the project team has now grown to include local expert Bruce Huett.
Do have a look at their lovely website, and do contact them to share your stories of the River Mel
NW corner of proposed gravel quarry and waste site (c) Mike Foley
Astonishingly, there’s a proposal to extract 1 million m3 of gravel from the delightful meadows of Rectory Farm between Haslingfield and Hauxton, then turn the resulting hole into a waste dump. The proposed site is only a few meters from the river.
This is a bad idea on so many grounds:
The process will inevitably contaminate the river Cam,
There will be 100-140 of lorry movements a day coming in and out of the site onto the busy A10, carrying gravel and waste to and fro.
Dust, noise and smell will afflict Haslingfield, Harston and Hauxton.
It will adversely affect biodiversity and wildlife on this important and beautiful spot
It will destroy a popular public bridleway that’s also a proposed greenway route.
We will be joining Hauxton Parish council in vigorously opposing it
Whilst there is as yet no public consultation (that will take place in Spring 2019), anyone concerned can send objections to firstname.lastname@example.org before 31 October 2018.
You can download the applicant’s description of the project here
On a glorious summer day, 21 participants joined us for the pennywort pulling working party, supported by funding from Cambridge Water’s PEBBLE fund.
With fantastic help from Cambridge Canoe club and their members, we had a fleet of 11 canoes out on the river, plus a team working from the bank in Grantchester Mill Pond.
We started with some instruction from Mike on Floating Pennywort, and how to distinguish it from other plants, using a handy patch in the nearby Snobs stream.
We then headed out on the river to find and clear the emerging strandsWe surveyed the whole river, from Mill lane, Cambridge to Grantchester Mill Pond, and removed virtually all visible pennywort. There were just a few strands identified and left, to be dealt with later from the bank or by canoe. This included one new patch found in a ditch near Fen Causeway that we weren’t previously aware of (now dealt with from the bank)
We then finished with some refreshments… Pennywort drink from Cho Mee supermarket was interesting to try (and is apparently good for arthritis) but more conventional drinks were more popular!
The days’ work will be immensely useful in the eradication process, although I’m sure we’ll all need to remain vigilant to collect regrowth during the summer
Do keep an eye out when you’re on or by the river over the summer, and either remove any that you see, or just let us know and we’ll try to get someone out to deal with it. If you want to keep an eye on progress before you go pennywort hunting , do check the status reports on our website here: https://camvalleyforum.uk/pennywort-status/
If you would like to be kept informed of future working parties, do let us know, ideally registering here
Simon takes a large punt up river under dramatic skies, ready for the start of the first Pennywort Hitsquad.
These are follow-on sessions from the Treeworks, with our contractors ML Partnership spending 2 days working their way down the river in a giant punt on loan from Scudamores. Their tasks are pulling out some of the remaining trees that had rooted in the river, removing pennywort-containing-debris, and pulling pennywort.
We have funding from Cambridge Water’s PEBBLE fund and South Cambs Wildlife Enhancement Scheme to run 3 more of these, as needed during the summer and Autumn.
Very pleasingly, thanks to all the work in February and March, there’s currently no pennywort for them to pull, but we know it will appear soon….
Cam Valley Forum’s 2018 Pennywort Pulling Working Party has been postponed from May to July, due to a very pleasing lack of pennywort to pull! New date is Sunday 8 July, 1:30pm outside Cambridge Canoe Club, followed by refreshments. Do come as a group or as an individual. If you have them, please bring rakes, buckets, punts etc! For details and to book (which helps us plan and gets you a reminder) click here.