The invasive Himalayan balsam is under attack from volunteer ‘balsam bashing’ teams led by the Inland Waterways Association.

In the summer the species spreads along waterways, crowding out native plants – then in the autumn it dies back leaving the ground bare and at risk of erosion when winter comes. But it’s non-toxic, it can be pulled up by hand, and so clearing it is ideal volunteer work.

IWA branches will be working with the Canal & River Trust and local groups all over the system, concentrating their efforts mainly on two weeks: the first one is this week 21-29 June, then there’s another planned on 19-27 July. IWA branches have ‘balsam bundles’ which include gloves and high-visibility vests, so volunteers need only turn up with suitable clothes, a packed lunch and enthusiasm. See

Image(s) provided by: