2022 Report

All Clear Again!

We are in year four of our Giant Hogweed Eradication programme on the Tyne (see last year's report here), and by the end of the season 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. The pale means we didnt even check it, as its been clear for years.
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 2022

Sightings in 2022

Sightings This Year

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

We use colours and icons to help, for example
a mature plant
flowering - arrgghh!
is what we want - currently clear of hogweed!

The infestation clearly splits into two areas, above Pencaitland and below Haddington. This (almost) hogweed-free gap is now 8 miles, and stretches from Pencaitland nearly to Hailes Castle. Although there were a few pop-ups near Samuelston - given seeds can wait years until they germinate, this can happen anywhere, any time.


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 - and we've probably been more thorough this year.

Overall we've seen a slight reduction in both the number of plants and number of locations, especially in the upper section. However we've seen double the number of flowering plants this year. Very unexpected, as all plants were dealt with last year, and it doesnt flower in its first year. So it's either due to not killing them properly last year, or because our end-of-year mop-ups were later.

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

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. 2 years ago there were a hundred flowering along a 200m stretch; last year only three, and this year none! Unfortunately 500m downstream, where we spotted none a couple of years ago, a dozen had appeared , and most had ben treated, although 4 plants had already gone to seed by the time we did a final mop-up.

River Esk

click pictures to see online map

(Musselburgh all sightings)

(N&S at end of year)

Musselburgh Esk

A program was started last year on the River Esk around Musselburgh (by JamesW's daughter). It's 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 both this and last year, but it will clearly be a long process. See full details on the Inveresk Village website.

North and South Esks

Last year we surveyed the North and South Esks and their tributaries. The most upstream Giant Hogweed was at Lasswade on the North Esk, nothing further up. The South Esk was completely clear upstream of Dalkeith Country Park. Inside the Park there was remarkably little, given the Dean Burn tributary just upstream is full of it. Clearly these areas need to be treated, otherwise clearing the main Esk downstream will be a never-ending task! So James persuaded many of the landowners to join in the fight this year. We re-surveyed this summer, and saw great progress in many areas. We mopped up any remaining riverside plants, and it is now clear of all flowering plants. Although there are still serious infestations not far from the water, especially around Sheriffhall.

East Lothian (and more!)

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! The map also highlights where there are active eradication programs - click on them on the online map for more details. If you spot any anywhere, just let us know at hogweed@elcv.org.uk