To Whom It May Concern

ELCV offers a range of courses, one of which is the Digging Awareness Course – which is designed to cover most low level Hogweed digging offences. ELCV offer this course for educational purposes as an alternative to excommunication and penalty points, to encourage diggers to alter their attitude towards slapdash digging and the potential consequences thereof.
Will whoever was responsible for claiming to have properly dug up this plant (i.e. 6in below ground level) beside the Tyne path back in May please inform us.

We Won!

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.

Carry On Spotting

Our River Tyne Giant Hogweed spotters can't stop spotting! Joyce, returning home from a Tyne spot, spotted more GH right by where she lives in Gladsmuir, one loner and a bunch which looked sprayed. But flowering, so she dead-headed & dug them all up. Then Chris & Morag strolling along the Lady's Walk at Tyninghame, spotted a bunch, which had clearly been sprayed, but not dead-headed. So they did the necessary. And later, out for a run around the fields, spotted another one in the distance. When they went to head-head it they found not one but more like 30 - the flower heads filled 5 bags!

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!

Many Small Steps and One Giant Leap

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!

GH Lockdown

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 (// 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.

GH up to 3 foot wide (upstream from A1 Bridge)

Japanese Knotweed already 5 foot high (near Sandy's Mill)

Quiz: Name the 3 big green plants one behind the other

Giant Hogweed Program Gathering Pace

Our Giant Hogweed program is gathering pace. To support the farmers who are doing the actual treatment, we now have around 20 volunteer spotters. On Monday half of us met for basic training. The other half were due to meet tomorrow, so we've switched that to doing it over skype/phone.
The good news is that hogweed spotting - apart from the value to the community, the exercise, and being good for your mental health - is something you can still currently do (if you remember the 2 metre rule)!
Links to all the relevant info here