Sunday 2nd April marked the sixth annual West Cumbria Rivers Trust litter pick on the River Derwent between High Hill bridge and High Stocks bridge. It was another fantastic turnout with 26 keen volunteers and canoeists giving up their free time to help clean up our river and make a real difference. The volunteers included; members of Keswick Anglers Association, the Woodlands Trust, West Cumbria Canoe Club and enthusiastic local folk - we have so many familiar faces it feels like an annual reunion!
Our weather man Ian ordered sunshine for the Sunday and it was duly delivered! We had a fabulous time not only nattering and enjoying each others company but also having a good ratch in the undergrowth spotting not only nasty litter but also wildlife…the goodies and the baddies!
Japanese knotweed can again be found in many sections along the river, although the plants are very small thanks to the River Corridors Group who help fund the spraying of knotweed in the catchment. We also spotted some small tracks in the sand under the A66 flyover too. Our resident wildlife expert (Ian again!) confirmed they were too small for otter and too big for rats, but they were just the right size for invasive American mink.
Walking back up the river after we had completed the sweep it was truly lovely to see our river banks free of bottles, cans, plastic, aluminium and polystyrene….to name just a few! Over thirty bags of rubbish were collected and numerous large individual items that were much more easily transported on the open canoes. The clean-up was gratefully supported by the various landowners; however, a special thanks to Kevin and Susan Tyson who were there ready with a tractor and trailer to transport all the rubbish for collection by Allerdale Borough Council.
Jodie Mills, West Cumbria Rivers Trust Director sums it up “I am delighted to see that this event remains as well supported as ever across the community. The litter on our river banks isn’t just unsightly to both locals and visitors alike it is also a danger to our wildlife. This spring clean makes a real difference to this section of the River Derwent as well as being an opportunity for a healthy day out with family, friends and likeminded people.”
All in all, you couldn’t ask for more; a great sunny day out on the river with fantastic folk, having fun and making a difference to our rivers.