Nick’s got the beating of Himalayan balsam plant

15:00 24 April 2014

Dr Nick Ward pictured with Himalayan Balsam in the Otter Valley, which could grow to eight feet in height later this year.

Dr Nick Ward pictured with Himalayan Balsam in the Otter Valley, which could grow to eight feet in height later this year.

Archant

An East Budleigh doctor who previously led efforts to eradicate smallpox and polio has turned his attention to a new foe – a plant that threatens to wipe out native species in the Otter Valley.

Himalayan balsam was introduced to England in 1839, and flourishes in damp areas with flowing water, growing up to eight feet in height.

In the last few years its numbers have exploded in the Otter Valley, and while it can look very pretty it poses a threat to indigenous species, writes Sean Keywood.

Dr Nick Ward said: “It’s not an unattractive flower. Bees like it. But it just takes over – it forms mats and all our native plants get swamped.

“They are going to get smothered and we are going to lose native plants if we are not careful.”

Having retired from working for the World Health Organisation, Nick moved to East Budleigh a few years ago and was shocked by the plant’s proliferation in the area.

Having approached landowner Clinton Devon Estates, Nick was told that they had a plan for the main river, but he was invited to try an eradication programme on the Budleigh Brook, between Yettington and the Otter through East Budleigh.

With a small team of volunteers, Nick used techniques he had previously deployed to fight disease in a managed campaign carried out last summer, with hugely successful results.

He said: “The plan last year was to stop the plants seeding as far as we could – for which you have to pull the whole plant out, roots and all.

“We believe there is 90 per cent less now than there was last year. We didn’t do anything clever, it was just a well managed programme with a number of committed people to show that it can be done, and to my satisfaction we have done that.

“I believe we’ve demonstrated that it can be reduced by quite a dramatic amount, making the next year’s programme one that can get rid of the problem.”

With the concept proven, Nick was due to meet with Clinton Devon Estates and the Otter Valley Association this week to discuss rolling the programme out across a wider area.

If all goes well, volunteers will then be needed to work in groups removing the balsam.

Nick says that the key is for removal to be organised and controlled, with groups working in supervised two-hour sessions yielding the best results.

He will be advertising with posters in the local area when volunteers are needed for this programme to begin.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Exmouth Journal visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Exmouth Journal staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Exmouth Journal account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 12:30

Budleigh could take control of its own destiny when it comes to housing development, after civic leaders agreed to investigate a Neighbourhood Plan for the town.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

Budleigh Salterton residents facing the prospect of a cycle track being built behind their homes are hopeful their concerns will be listened to after planners agreed to meet them

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30
Geoffrey and Christine Seward back home in Exmouth after they discovered a man was found to be hiding in their vehicle as they drove through Plymouth after returning from France. Ref exe 2125-27-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

An Exmouth couple returning from holiday in France were stunned when a noise from the back of their campervan turned out to be a suspected illegal immigrant.

Read more
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Kittleham orchard

Residents spent a day tending to the Littleham Community Orchard.

Read more
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Ten year old Sophia Rehbock is pictured in her garden at Rosehill which was one of the open gardens for Hospiscare in Budleigh Salterton over the weekend. Ref exb 2519-27-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

The organisers of the Budleigh Open Gardens event for Hospiscare have hailed it as a success.

Read more
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Waltons

For more than 60 years, the iconic Walton’s department store was Exmouth’s answer to Grace Brothers in the sitcom Are you Being Served, complete with haberdashery and lingerie departments, menswear and ladieswear, a huge toy department and perfumery.

Read more
Saturday, July 4, 2015
A former contestant on The Voice Adam Isaac entertains the crowds at the party to celebrate 20 years of the Devon Air Ambulance at Darts Farm on Saturday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 4029-35-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

A Devon singer and TV star has been added to the bill at an Exmouth charity’s first-ever fundraising ball.

Read more
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Jef Pirie who runs the Littleham and High Street launderettes wrote a one act play entitled 'I'd Like to Believe in Angels' which won the Exmouth One Act Play Festival recently. Ref exe 1733-25-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

An Exmouth playwright is looking to get his work published after he won two awards at a recent drama festival.

Read more
Friday, July 3, 2015
HM Coastguard

A section of Exmouth beach was cordoned off by the coastguard after a two-metre-wide hole appeared in the sand.

Read more
Friday, July 3, 2015
Exeter Road school's sports day. Ref exe 9472-26-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Children at Exeter Road Primary School enjoyed the sunshine as they competed in the school’s annual sports day.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder