Event 173: Reed Clearing at Forest Farm (23 September 2018)

A brave gang of around 20 volunteers was not put off by the rainy conditions on Sunday morning, 23 September, as they ventured to Forest Farm to help the Cardiff Council Park Rangers clear reeds from one of the wetland ponds.

Every year, it’s vital to remove excessive growth of reeds to ensure the survival of the pond and surrounding wetland environment, which provides an important range of habitats for a large number of species — not only the obvious birds (such as kingfishers, moorhen, heron, snipe, water rail, reedbuntings, wagtails, and even the occasional bittern), but also fish, amphibians, lots of invertebrates (above and below the waterline), and a wide variety of plants.

The hardy volunteers spent two hours at this back-breaking task, and in that time managed to clear reeds both from the perimeter of the pond itself, and from areas neighbouring the pond that will form a ‘scrape’ of reed stubble over the autumn and winter.

And, midway through the morning’s event, everyone was delighted to see the sun come out and the clouds clear to give blue skies — the sun always shines on CRG!

Event 172: Lamby Way Beach (9 September 2018)

Over 40 volunteers spent a sunny late summer’s Sunday morning cleaning-up the coastline on the far side of the Lamby Way Recycling Centre.

The event was CRG’s contribution to the All Wales Beach Clean — the UK’s largest national beach cleaning and litter survey programme. Officially, it’s taking place from 14th to 30th September, but, never ones for convention, CRG decided to get in a few days early.

Collage of photos

In just 2 hours, the group collected 72 bags of plastic bottles, 71 bags of miscellaneous rubbish, a builder’s sack full of ‘rigid’ plastics, 2 aluminium beer barrels, 4 gas bottles, 4 car wheels, 3 traffic cones, 3 compost bins, a camping toilet, plus assorted bits of metal and treated wood.

In addition, we recovered another 5 polystyrene-filled crash bags, which had washed down the Rhymney after being looted from an inadequately-secured building site earlier this summer and used as makeshift rafts. (We recovered 14 of them at our Ball Lane event at the beginning of July.)

Group shot of volunteers

It’s not, perhaps, the most accessible bit of coastline, but it does have a fantastic view across the Bristol Channel, over to the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm. And, so long as the wind’s in the right direction, you’d never know there’s an industrial-scale compost heap right by it.

And just to prove there really is a beach there…

"CRG" written in the sand
If you’d like to see CRG in action, there’s a short time-lapse video on our Facebook page
still frame from video

Many thanks to Joe Arch for alerting us to this beach location.

Event 171: Radyr Weir (25 August 2018)

(The rather creepy photo at the top is of a doll’s head found during this event!)

Over 40 volunteers from Cardiff Rivers Group returned to the River Taff on Saturday, 25 August, to tackle the area around Radyr weir.

The group split up into teams to tackle the riverbank, Longwood Drive, the Taff Trail, and the Melingriffith feeder.

The volunteers worked hard for 2 hours, and together they collected 109 bags of rubbish!

Much of this was found in the feeder. Volunteers kitted out in waders and wellies trudged through the muddy feeder stream to collect bags and bags of discarded drinks cans, which littered the stream floor.

Group member Louise Tambini said, “It was lovely to see so many people give up their Saturday morning to make such a huge difference to this area. Everyone who took part should be very proud of themselves!

The amount of cans we found in the feeder was shocking. I really wish people would dispose of their waste correctly and stop damaging this important habitat. I hope that a deposit return scheme comes into force soon to prevent people from irresponsibly littering their drinks containers in the environment,” she added.

All waste was collected by Cardiff Council.

More photos on our Flickr page.

Event 170: River Ely at Ely Bridge (4 August 2018)

45 enthusiastic volunteers from CRG, the local community and South Wales Police collected a huge amount of litter and rubbish from the river Ely and surrounding areas at Ely bridge on the morning of Saturday 4 August.

The haul included:

60 bags of miscellaneous litter
An astonishing 15 bikes/scooters
2 gas fires + some sort of gas heater
A cigarette vending machine…

Cigarette machine removed from the river Ely.

… 1 shopping trolley
A computer monitor
Exercise stepper
TV tube
Desktop computer case
A huge piece of curved sheet metal…

Huge piece of curved sheet metal
… Lots of cable sheathing
A very long piece of metal wire
2 traffic cones
2 traffic barriers
Various bits of steel mesh
Lots of assorted pieces of metal (pipes, angle iron, architectural iron-work)

Assorted rubbish removed from the river

Metal will be recycled via our sponsor EMR Metal Cycling and other rubbish was collected by Cardiff Council.

More photos in our Flickr album.

Event 169: Blackweir (14 July 2018)

Over 50 volunteers from Cardiff Rivers Group, Keep Cathays Tidy and Friends of Bute Park spent a summery Saturday morning clearing rubbish from the river Taff, Pontcanna Fields and surrounding areas at Blackweir. The perfect way to celebrate Love Parks Week!

The haul included 2 motorbikes, a car door, drugs paraphernalia (mainly syringes), a bicycle, a flat-bed trolley from a nearby DIY store (which came in handy for moving heavy stuff)…

… various items of abandoned clothing, miscellaneous lengths of piping (ex-goalposts?) and other bits of metal, a large & very rusty propane cylinder, several disposable barbecues, and around 70 bags of assorted litter.

And we were joined by a Bute Park Ranger, who was removing graffiti from the bridge.

Metal items will be recycled by CRG via our sponsor EMR Metal Recycling. All other waste was collected and disposed of by Cardiff Council.

Lots more photos on our Flickr page.

Event 168: River Rhymney at Ball Lane (7 July 2018)

Around 60 volunteers, of all ages, turned out on a very hot and sunny Saturday morning (7 July) to tackle the River Rhymney at Ball Lane, Llanrumney.

Together they filled three Cardiff Council trucks with rubbish.

The main haul was 14 large crash bags, which had been “removed” from a building site upstream to be used as makeshift rafts, and then left in the river.

The bags — each 2m long — are filled with tens of thousands of polystyrene packing pieces. That’s not a real problem if the bags are intact, but unfortunately several of them had got ripped, releasing many thousands of bits of polystyrene into the river.

Whatever hadn’t already gone down to the sea had been trapped by trailing branches or other obstructions, or else had been deposited on various gravel ‘beaches’ as the river level dropped in the current prolonged dry spell.

Thankfully, CRG volunteers were up to the challenge, and many of them spent the morning picking up thousands of pieces of polystyrene by hand.

Also removed from the river were 2 shopping trolleys, 2 traffic cones, various tyres, a blow-up mattress, a garden chair, a kid’s bike, some sort of wooden ‘sled’, a rubber dinghy, and a bath tub.

All the scrap metal recovered will be recycled via our sponsor EMR Metal Recycling.

More photos are available on our Flickr page.

Making A Difference in Rivers and Waterways in Cardiff and Surrounding Areas