Manor Farm, Marcham, 24th July 2021

Saturday marked our first visit to Marcham for a couple of years. We visit the Mill Road and Manor Farm sites during the summer months in order to pull up the pesky Himalayan Balsam which unfortunately proliferates here. Since our operations were suspended last summer, this invasive plant has had the chance to run rather rampant.

We gathered in the yard at Cumber's Farm, fifteen or so strong, with leader Eleanor D taking on the additional role as parking steward, minus the hi vis jacket. Once gathered, Roger distributed the latest orders of Green Gym attire, which now come in olive green as well as the more traditional 'Abingdon Green Gym' green. 

We marched onwards to our base camp location just off Mill Road, beside the bridge, the midway point between the key work areas of the roadside ditch and the adjoining stream. Here we split into sub-teams and went off on the pull!

Back in 2019, we were confident that we were making great strides towards eradicating the plant here, however the fallow year has enabled the plant to re-establish, and then some! It was a matter of removing what we could this time and hoping that our activities make a difference long-term.

Great swathes of balsam were at least removed from beside Mill Road, but the stream and fields beyond were ablaze with the bright pink flowers of our plant nemesis. Individual specimens were up to around a staggering 10ft tall! Perhaps ideal for species such as roe deer to hide out in - such as the family of four that sprung us a surprise visit mid-session.

We also encountered the farmer during the morning as he was out walking his dog and gave him an update on our activities, but we'll need to attend more frequently over the coming weeks/months/years until our work is done.


The crew.

Janet prepares to take on the balsam.

Bright pink flowers.

A well-earned rest.

Balsam beside the stream.

Fresh pickings.

Graham and some tiny volunteers.

Eleanor D hunting the balsam deep into the field.

Kevin and Ursula waist-deep in balsam.

Back up the road and home.


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