2023 Report

2023 End of Season Status:

River Tyne All Clear,  Esk 99%!

The slow steady improvement on the Tyne, and the massive improvement on the Esk, are both due to the painstaking work of all the landowners, the spotters, and the organisers. Especially James Wyllie, who continues to perform all of these roles!


River Esk Statistics

  • 72 miles of river & tributaries
    • 12 miles have GH
    • 27 miles clear of GH
    • 33 miles tbd (but GH unlikely)
  • 100% of landowners
    • who were asked now participate
  • 22 Spotters
    • 92 Surveys done
    • 128 miles covered
  • Plants
    • 1,523 Sightings (x1 small to x100 flowering)
    • 20,000? plants

River Esk Activities

See James’ full end- of-season report: click here

  • This year we see a major milestone on the River Esk – it is 99% clear of any flowering plants! That is all the way from the mouth at Musselburgh up through Inveresk (apart from one small section above the Haugh), Dalkeith Country Park, the North Esk up to Penicuik, the South Esk up to Gorebridge, and the Dean/Park Burn up to its source in Straiton.
  • We have surveyed the main watercourses upstream until we found no GH at all for several miles, when we stopped. Next year we plan to complete surveys of both Esks and all the  tributaries, right up to their sources, just in case. Because you can never be sure – a car crossing a bridge, or a bird perched on an overhead cable, can once in a blue moon drop a seed which reaches the river, and then another infestation begins.
  • Several new spotters have joined the upper Esk team, were trained in May, and have already been out surveying – thanks to Carol-Ann, Derek, Frank, Ian, Lucy, and others
  • Major thanks to Julia, both for organising the spotters, and doing a lot of spotting!
All Hogweed Sightings on the Esk in 2023
Esk Hogweed Status August 2023 (click to open the interactive version)

River Tyne

See James’ full end- of-season report: click here

  • For the fifth year in a row we can say the River Tyne is free of any plant that could flower – and virtually every other plant too. Congratulations!
  • The graph shows a significant reduction in numbers, but this is partly due to to fewer surveys this year. However the number of flowering plants found is accurate, and remains very low, at 9, which now even includes the Bellyford Burn (which had hundreds).
  • This year on the 5km stretch between Pencaitland and Hailes -which has been clear of any flowering plants for years,  we found half a dozen individual plants scattered along the river, one of which was even flowering. It just goes to show that we have to stay vigilant and thorough – seeds can lie dormant for years waiting for the right conditions to germinate.
  • On the Bellyford Burn, where two years ago there were a hundred flowering plants, this year there no large plants, let alone any flowering! Unfortunately the seeds have already spread downstream onto a neighbouring property, where many plants had been treated, but there were still several flowering, and needed to be laboriously mopped up.
  • Three new spotters have joined the Tyne team, were trained in April, and have been out surveying – thanks to Janet, John and Robert

See the difference!

Slide to see the Difference by the End of the Year

Hogweed Elsewhere

There are some serious flowering infestations near our rivers, but not close enogh to shed seeds directly into the waterway. For example:

  • Railway Embankments
  • Straiton Retail Park
  • Smeaton Electricity Substation
  • Seton Sands
  • B&Q

Wherever we hear of it we try to contact the landowners, who are always sympathetic.

Click the map to open the interactive version (or elcv.org.uk/HogweedMapLothian) to see the current status