The power of partnership working

Himalayan balsamSuch is the level of local concern regarding the expansion of the invasive weed Himalayan balsam, that over 30 people attended a meeting and social event at the Otter Inn in Colaton Raleigh on the 22nd August 2013 to discuss/celebrate the summer's progress in eradicating it. The event was organised by the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust with its aim being to thank the many volunteers (on behalf of Clinton Devon Estates) who had given up their days over the summer to tackle this issue, and to help galvanise effort locally. Most of those attending had volunteered during the summer to pull balsam from local waterways, hedgerows and woods, with the communities of Hawkerland/Stoneyford, Newton Poppleford and East Budleigh each organising their own work parties, with the Otter Valley Association taking a lead role on the Colaton Brook. In addition representatives of Clinton Devon Estates, the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust and local tenant farmers were present.

Those coordinating activities gave a quick review of progress before everyone pooled their collective knowledge and mapped where the species is known to occur in the area and where efforts have been made in 2013 to control it. It was agreed that significant progress had been made during the year, with tributaries such as the Colaton and Back brooks noticeably clearer than in previous years. It was agreed that the currrent strategy which focuses on driving the balsam back down the tribuatries of the River Otter should be continued, and a number of sites were highlighted for priority action in 2014. These include the marsh at Yettington. The Otter Inn then put on a fantastic spread to round off the evening. Thanks to them for providing the perfect venue for the event.

For further information on Clinton Devon Estates' policy on Himalayan Balsam control please click here.

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