A riverside clean up will get underway

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People can help to clean up Castleford’s riverside this summer with a series of volunteer days starting next week.

Castleford Heritage Trust and the Canals and River Trust have teamed up as part of their Castleford

Riverside Stewardship Project (CRISP) to run fortnightly volunteer sessions along the riverbank in the town.

They start on Thursday June 25 and will take place every fortnight until October 1 from 10am to 1pm, and will be run by Sheffield River Stewardship Company (RSC) on behalf of CRISP.

Volunteers will be working on the far bank of the River Aire opposite Queen’s Mill, and working their way upstream.

Hellen Hornby, river steward at RSC, said: “The plan is to tackle the Himalayan balsam before it flowers and sets seed. 

“Himalayan balsam is an invasive plant species that spreads and dominates our riverbanks.

“This prevents other native plants from growing.

“As there are fewer native plants there are fewer animals that can survive in these areas so the general biodiversity of an area decreases.

“It also contributes to increased flood risk, as nothing is present in the winter to stabilise the river bank.

“Himalayan balsam is an annual so if you can remove it before it sets seed then there are no new plants to grow next year.

“It is a simple task that can really make a difference to our local wildlife.”

Volunteers will also carry out general litter picks and cleaning up the river banks. RSC also plans to tackle the giant hogweed growing in the area, as licensed pesticide operators.

Refreshments and tools will be provided to volunteers, but they should wear suitable clothing and footwear

The volunteering days will meet at Queen’s Mill, Aire Street, which

has parking available, before heading to the riverside for 10am.

Anyone interested can find out more by contacting Trish Ellis at Castleford Heritage Trust on

01977 556741 or email trish.ellis@corganisers.org.uk, or visit

www.castlefordheritagetrust.org.uk.