Dates for your Diary!

2023 dates for the 3RiversCleanUp is 17th June – 15th July

The 3RiversCleanUp is an annual, intensive series of volunteering events that aims to improve and maintain the Rivers Pool, Quaggy and Ravensbourne that flow through Lewisham, Greenwich and Bromley.  The events are organised by a unique partnership between the Environment Agency, environmental groups and local authorities.

The first 3RiversCleanUp took place in 2008 with the main aim to control the growth of Himalayan Balsam along the rivers. Himalayan Balsam is an invasive non-native plant that spreads quickly, clogging up river banks and reducing biodiversity. It shades and crowds native species and causes riverbank erosion, leading to an increase in the risk of flooding.

Volunteers are still needed to help maintain these valuable local spaces for people and wildlife.

Read more about the 3RiversCleanUp on the event’s website at https://3riverscleanup.co.uk/ and keep an eye out for more details!

Rivers & People Jan-March Programme

Thinking of new year’s resolutions? Why not join our Tuesday volunteer sessions? The volunteer session programme has now been released for January to March 2023. Check out the programme HERE. If you would like to get involved in volunteering on Lewisham’s rivers please read through the the River Volunteering web page, and if you have any questions or queries please get in touch with Emily.

Volunteer Sessions in December

As usual, the Rivers & People volunteers have been busy keeping the rivers in Lewisham in good shape! A day of bramble bashing at the backwater in Ladywell Fields South took the brash line back by about 2 meters, which is great not only for regaining the visibility of the river but also protects the meadow area from any encroaching bramble! All the cut bramble was bundled and used in a brash pile within the nearby woodland.

Bramble Bashing in Ladywell Fields

Further upstream in the River Ravensbourne volunteer Donna cleared all the litter and fallen twigs from the Turning Tree sculpture in the channel, look at transformation below!

Turning Tree sculpture in Ladywell Fields

A river wade and litter pick also took place in the Manor House Gardens stretch of the River Quaggy, although chilly it was a fantastic day to be in the river!

River wade in Manor House Gardens

Volunteer Sessions in November

The Rivers & People volunteers have been all across the borough this month despite the very wet weather. The volunteer team have opened up one of ponds in Chinbrook Meadows, by cutting back some of the overhanging willows and removing the encroaching sedge and grasses. They also got into the River Quaggy to unblock the channel from a fallen tree, the bankside volunteers then used the bras cutting to create a habitat pile further into the woodland.

The team also visited Brookmill Park to do a quick kick sample for the Riverfly Monitoring Partnership. Although it is later in the year it was interesting to find a selection of freshwater invertebrates such as caddisfly larvae, leeches, freshwater hoglouse, mayfly nymphs. After our short sampling session the volunteers worked to clear a section of the overgrown bramble on the bank, so that any park visitors using the pathway can now see the River Ravensbourne. We only clear half the sections in winter to keep some coverage for birds to forage in whilst maintaining a view of the river.

As a pre-festive period treat, you should visit your local blue space and see the wildlife that’s about. Black headed gulls, kingfishers and grey wagtails are common sights in ponds and on the river around the borough. If you do spot anything please do share your sightings with @GlendaleLew as we’d love to know!

Volunteer Sessions in October

A few weeks back our volunteer team held a session clearing brambles and nettles from the bank at the bridge in Cornmill Gardens. Not only will this allow a wider variety of plants to grow in that space but also means that you can see more of the river from the path to the bridge.

Before & After photos of Cornmill Garden

A task that will carry over to November is de-silting and restoring the viewpoint to the backwater in Ladywell Fields (middle field- nr Malyons Road). After 2 hours of digging and clearing vegetation you can now see water once again in the backwater. The volunteer team will return again next week where the channel will be completely opened up and water will flow once again!

#PlasticBlitz

Last month, the Rivers & People volunteers took part in The Thames and Tributaries ‘Plasticblitz’ week. This week of events was organised by Thames21, the Environment Agency and Rotary in the Valley (through their international End Plastic Soup campaign) to collate details on the amount and differing types of plastic pollution groups find across The Thames and it’s tributaries.

The Rivers & People group held a session at Brookmill Park where we cleared 6 bags of rubbish from the Ravensbourne River and it’s banks. A wide variety of litter was collected from plastic bottles to curtains. Our team collected 6 full bags of rubbish over a few hours and covered a stretch of river over 250 metres.

All of the data collected will feed into the EU-wide ‘Preventing Plastic Pollution’ Project.

Find out the overall results of the #PlasticBlitz HERE.

River Bankside volunteering CANCELLED TODAY

RBSM Cancelled

The RBSM volunteering had to be cancelled today due to high winds and wet weather – not the best combination when wearing waders in the river and ponds! We waited fro a while to see who would turn up and the the volunteers and I took this decision. I hope we didn’t miss anyone.