THE 2021

Success Again!

Year three of our Giant Hogweed Eradication programme on the Tyne comes to a close, and again we have treated every plant that had any chance of flowering this year, and hundreds more as well that would have flowered next year. So the seed bank which is dormant in the soil, laid down years ago, is being steadily eroded.

 

This is thanks to the hard work of all the landowners - mostly farmers - voluntarily taking time out from their business to treat the plants on their land, organised by James Wyllie, an ex-farmer. And it's also thanks to the group of ELC volunteer spotters surveying & GPS-ing plants, which get added to the map - which ensures everyone knows where all the plants are. Or better still, are not! And finally thanks to James & Dave Q for the end-of-growing season mopping up - often wading up the river - digging up any new plants and those missed by the farmers.

Status on 27 July 2021

Sightings in 2021

Sightings This Year

We record all the sightings on our online Google map. The snapshot here shows all plants we found.

We use colours and icons to help, for example red means a mature plant, blue is flowering, a pram icon means it's just a small plant. A green tick means it is clear of hogweed.

The infestation now clearly splits into two areas, above Pencaitland and below Haddington. This GH-free gap is widening each year.

Progress

The Hogweed-free gap is now 8 miles, and stretches from Pencaitland almost to Hailes Castle. Although there were two "erratics" on that stretch - one right in the middle of Haddington & flowering!

And how does this all compare to previous years? Well, comparing years is tricky, because of the different number of surveys, by different people, at different times - we've certainly surveyed more this year.

Overall we've seen roughly the same number of plants, in roughly the same number of locations. However the number we have seen flowering has reduced dramatically - from over 100 in 2019 to only 10 this year, particularly above Pencaitland (although this is partly due to the end-of-year mop-up being earlier).

(NB: The bar charts exclude Tyninghame and Bellyford Burn, as they are special cases)

Other News

Tyninghame & Bellyford

There are two really serious infestations on the Tyne, with thousands of plants at Tyninghame and hundreds on the Bellyford Burn near Cousland. Both have been thoroughly treated by their respective landowners, and we have found far fewer flowering plants there this year. The photo shows part of Bellyford this July, which was sprayed in the spring. Last year there were a hundred flowering along a 200m stretch; this year we managed to find only three, which were hidden inside dense vegetation.

River Esk

James Wyllie's daughter Kathryn, who lives at Inveresk, has started a programme on the River Esk (initially from Dalkeith Country Park downwards). This is a major challenge, as its much worse than the Tyne ever was. Almost everywhere you look there are plants - along both banks of the river, the railway embankments, the burn across the golf course, around many of the fields, and even sprinkled around the Eskmills industrial estate. In places it is a pure forest. Remarkably a lot of it has been treated this year, but it will clearly be a long process. See full details on the Inveresk Village website

East Lothian

With the increased awareness, we are now getting more reports of GH in other places, so these are being added to another online map, which covers the rest East Lothian, and even further! If you spot any anywhere, just let us know at hogweed@elcv.org.uk