Our Giant Hogweed Eradication Programme was not just a finalist, but the winner of the Enhancing the Environment category in the Scottish Land and Estates Helping It Happen Awards! The full video of all the categories is here on YouTube. Our video starts at minute 31, and the winner is announced at min 32.20, the judges saying:
"... a brilliant initiative that really considers the long term impact of invasives. A great example of landowners and volunteers working together to enhance the environment..."
This is all due to the hard work of the farmers and the spotters, and especially James Wyllie for driving it all.
THE programme has succeeded again this year. The River Tyne has been surveyed end-to-end, and due to the hard work of the farmers and volunteers, as of 1 August, we have eliminated all the Giant Hogweed currently growing. And all this despite lockdown. See the full story here
Gladsmuir - Bachelor
Gladsmuir - Family
Lady's Walk - Before
Lady's Walk, after
Flowering heads have gone
Leaving bare stalks
After dealing with the "one we spotted in the distance"
5 bags of heads!
.... 3 weeks later ....
One of our Giant Hogweed spotter couples surveyed the River Tyne in Vogrie Park recently, and confirmed there is still none - i.e. it hasn't spread upstream from the major source of infestation just down from the A68. Good news. But on the way back home they noticed what looked like dozens of plants near the start of the Pencaitland Railway Walk. Checking the map I could see that this insignificant streamlet, called the Bellyford Burn, way up at Cousland, does eventually feed into the Tyne at Pencaitland. So I went and checked - and there not dozens, but a couple of hundred flowering giants - just when we thought we were removing the last few plants this year on the whole river!
The task in front of us...
So we made an emergency call for help, and many volunteers responded immediately. Those who could then assembled on site (obviously social distancing at all times), and over 2 hours dead-headed and bagged all the plants. Then James Wyllie, with his license and back-pack, sprayed all the leaves. The farmer later came and took the 8 large bags away for burning, and promised to come back and spray in the future. A success.
Is PPE always Yellow?
All Cut Off ...
(except last year's)
.. and bagged up
A major problem and a major solution!
Some of are lucky enough to live within walking distance of the River Tyne, and so despite lockdown have been able to go out looking for Giant Hogweed (//www.elcv.org.uk/links/). All these sightings have been added to the master map - see extract below. Where we haven't yet done any surveys we keep last year's sightings, as often the plants appear in the same places. This year's are coloured purple, so it's easier to tell them apart.