About Keep Wales Tidy's Tidy Towns' work in Cardiff

Hi, my name is Chris Partridge and I am Keep Wales Tidy's Tidy Towns Project Officer for Cardiff. Activities we undertake are often in partnership with Cardiff Council's Parks Department (both waste services and Community Park Rangers) and Street Cleansing. We have organised events for several businesses across Cardiff and is happy to accommodate future requests. For more information you can contact Chris on 07717 412 270 or by Email: chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org You can also follow me on Twitter for upcoming events @CardiffKWT

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Friday 1st July 10am. Cardiff Friday Morning Project in Llanedeyrn Stream Clean Success

We returned to Llanedeyrn this Friday to the finish clearance of a stream and a woodland on Llanedeyrn Road just off Circle Way East.

Wellies were worn by one and waders for the rest. We made such a good go of it last week with the general litter collecting some 13 bags and about 200kg of assorted rubbish.

This week our aim was to collect any more rubbish in the wood and to completely clear the culvert/drain of blockages. Armed with shovels, spades and a mud rake Dave and John filled up our sturdy blue bags with accumulated sediment which I dragged up the hill to deposit along the path. This would prevent the material from being washed back into the stream taking us back to square 1. Johns aim was to clear the roof:

Disclaimer- As you can tell, at the time when John stepped onto the squeeky toy buried deep in the sediment this was hilarious.
John realised while tackling the roof of the drain that the roof although solid, was also iron grills and perhaps not so safe or sensible to try and shovel it off from above. We then scraped it off the bars into the blue bags for deposition. Meanwhile, Dave concentrated on removing the inflow area:

While this was ongoing, Ron and Julie were removing loads of rubbish from up stream and in the woods:
By the end of the shovelling work, we had shifted over 40 bags of sediment, 4 bags of rubbish plus one recycling bag, 1 trolley, part of a metal-framed bed, part of a record player, 2 carpets, 2 unknown tools, 1 spade handle, 1 plastic garden container and a few unidentifiable bits of metal. All rubbish has been removed again by Cardiff CC Parks Waste Services.

Importantly, we cleared the stream drain, back down to the original concrete base. Unfortunately, the weight of the sediment had broken one side of the grills downwards and had pushed in the metal grills towards the drain itself. This has been reported back and will be repaired.
All in all we enjoyed ourselves and helped unblock a drain through a beautiful woodland. We hope to come back in the winter and put in some bank supports hopefully using coppiced materials from the woods.

For any more information call Chris on 07717 412 270 or chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org
We'll be back out again next Friday, location TBC.

View Friday 1st July Llanedeyrn Nant Pent bach clean up in a larger map

29.06.11 Keep Cathays Tidy Litterpick

Today we helped out Cathays Community Centre who are keen to set up a group in Cathays to help tidy it up. We were joined by a large group from Barclaycard and spent around 2 hours on bin day.

We witnessed masses of bags which had been torn open along several streets by, we presume, seagulls. The cause almost exactly the same; food waste in normal litter bags. in several streets, notably Letty Street, rows of bags were torn open revealing food waste and items such as plastic bottles, paper, cardboard and glass all of which are recyclable.
We cleared several of these up and even popped into one Landlords Office just along from one such property, who was advertising for new lets, replied with "Students init".
Cardiff County Council Street Cleansing do an excellent job and I have no doubt that these streets will be cleared, but we can make this so much easier by putting the right items in the right bins.

All in all, we collected 11 bags of rubbish, 5 bags of recycling, 1 tv and 2 plastic chairs. All of this was removed by a team from Cardiff County Council's Street Cleansing Department.

We hope to perform more litterpicks across Cathays from Cathays Community Centre and welcome any volunteer interest. With our presence we hope to be able to effect behaviour change to help Keep Cathays Tidy. For more information contact wither myself or Joanne Sutton from Cathays Communiy centre on 029 2037 3144 or email via admin@cathays.org.uk

23.06.11 Trelai Park Clean Up Woodlands High School, C1st & KWT

Last Thursday I had a real pleasure to be invited along to help a class from Woodlands High school in Ely to clean up Trelai Park just outside the School. Anne from Communities First got in touch some time ago to help out with the event and it was a tremendous success.
As per usual, I started off with a walkabout and it was a bit stinking even though bins were present. We all met up at the car and had a chat about litter, health and safety and the fact we were going to split the rubbish into recycling and non-recycling.
The park around the skating area was stinking with mainly fast food and plastic bottles and we cleared this up pretty sharpish. We then headed across the meadow area and talked about why the grass was left longer here with a little tree ID thrown in for good measure (I think they'll know ash now for the rest of their lives). As the rain came down we retreated back to class for tea, biscuits and a toilet break before resuming the pick in sunshine. The last part of the pick was held mainly in the shrubline alongside the schoolgates which accumulated a great deal of litter, including yards of stripped cabling and dozens of bags of dog poo (these can go in the normal bins you know!!!). Altogether, the class of 9 collected 10 bags of rubbish and 6 bags of recycling.

Once again, we were supported by Parks Waste Services who came along and collected away the rubbish afterwards. One of the class, Kieron, is currently gaining regular work experience with Brian, one of the fellows who regularly collects our stuff.

Afterwards, the class got together and came up with some quotes for the event and are as follows:

• LF
I really enjoyed it. I liked being outside of school for a few hours!

• AM
We got changed to go to Trelai park. We put gloves on, then we put jackets on. Chris and Anne were there to pick up rubbish. We were in groups and we had to work in a team. We picked up packets and cans. It was good. I enjoyed picking up the rubbish.

• AP
I enjoyed it because we’re keeping our country clean.

• ZA
It was really good. We filled loads of bags.

- I could hardly say it better myself.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

June 2011. HSBC Staff help to give a Roath Community Garden a Spring Clean

Ten volunteer South-East Wales branch managers from HSBC put down their abaci, took off their ties and rolled up their sleeves to provide a much needed spring clean for a community garden in Roath.

Under local advice from Roath Acting Together (RAT-pickers), staff and volunteers from Keep Wales Tidy decided to tackle the community garden area near the Mackintosh Sports Institute in Roath. This beautiful, yet very small community garden area has of late been blighted by a tremendous volume of flytipping. This included snooker cue cases, umbrellas, bags of clothes, loose clothes, drinks cans and bottles, used nappies, shoes, and several bags of garden waste. All in all a daunting task for any group. Following a quick warm up litterpicking the Mackintosh car park, the group set out to the main task. The early blue skies and sunshine soon turned black but the downpours did not stop the volunteers’ enthusiasm for the job who collected an astonishing 37 bags of rubbish and 12 bags of recyclables. All the waste was removed by one of Cardiff County Council’s Street Cleansing teams.

Chris Bastian, HSBC Local Business Manager from Brigend, commented:

“We had great fun today knowing that the work that we all did here is of benefit to the local community and may even help kick-start a local group to restore it”.

Chris Partridge, Keep Wales Tidy’s Tidy Towns Project Officer for Cardiff, added:

“It was a great day out for the staff at HSBC, knowing that what they did today could lead to renewed interest in taking care of this gem of a site”.

Martin Gower from RAT-pickers said:

“I hope that we will be able to do come back in September to encourage this as a wildlife garden area and today’s clean up is a massive step towards us achieving this.”

For more information call Chris Partridge on 07717 412 270 or chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org.

Friday, 10 June 2011

10.06.11 Cardiff Friday Morning Environmental Project build a frog & toad house

Today, we joined in with the Biodiversity Day run jointly between Cardiff Council Parks Department and Ely's Growing Together.

Our diminished in number, but not in enthusiasm, Cardiff Friday Morning Environmental Group had a think about what we could do to help biodiversity without being too conspicuous and decided upon a hibernaculum for toads and frogs.
Essentially, Julie and I dug a great big hole (very stony) using my current favourite tool, a Chillington hoe (Cheers again Riverside Community Allotments). While this was going on Barrie and Shaun found branches of various girths and using a bowsaw cut them to about 1 meter lengths. We then put these in our hole, which had a sloping base. Finally we shovelled soil back onto the logs, leaving the entrance exposed and tamped it down with our feet. Finally we disguised the hibernaculum with bracken and brambles from the site. In so, we created, possibly the least interesting before and after photos I have ever created.

Next week, we'll be pulling Himalayan balsam on the River Ely.

For any more information contact Chris Partridge on 07717 412 270 or chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

03.06.11 Cardiff Friday Morning Environmental Project. Bute Park Himalayan Balsam pull part ii

Seven of us returned to Bute Park to remove some of the Himalayan balsam which threatens so much habitat around Cardiff.

We pulled up quite a large area, unfortunately uncovering new areas of the arguably worse Japanese knotweed yet fortunately also one patch of native bluebells which was completely covered by balsam. Although bluebells emerge and flower first, the balsam isn't too far behind and it swamps the bluebells of valuable sunlight which will diminish the bluebells strength in future years. My guess is that this may lead to the plant flowering later or just growing more slowly in future years. Moreover, as we pull up the balsam to help the bleubells, there is a chance that any seeds may be pulled up with the small amount of soil associated with the balsam. Either way, the ground flora of native plant species is threatened by the balsam, even in places where only ground ivy appears to present. This is surprising as this is in areas of very high shade. I do have to take my hat off to this extremely tolerant plant.

On this trip we discovered a patch of variegated-leaved Himalayan balsam. I have seen similar patterns on glyphosate treated plant leaves, but this was from a patch deep in the balsam. In any case, all of it was pulled up, so we may never know the answer to that mystery.

Anyway, job done and 2 hours later while walking back down through Bute Park and I was amazed by the massive quantity of balsam present here. This story is repeated all the way up the Taff, along the Ely and no doubt also the Rumney. If you want to find out what you can do to stop this menace, please don't hesitate to contact me on 07717 412 270 or chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org

Slideshow of event:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Event: Litterpick in Maltings Park Splott, Thurs 9th June, 9-11.30.

Eight police officers and KWT joined forces today to give Maltings Park in Splott a spring clean in preparation for the Open Day here on Saturday. We started bright and early (7.30 am) and superficially it looked very clean. However, patches of dense shrubbery held a secret that required fine detective work. Evidence found at the scene of the crime indicated that some of these may not have been investigated since 1993 (based on a best before date on a can in one patch of shrubs).

The grassed area mainly contained occassional shredded drinks cans and plastic bottles. Altogether in 3 hours, we collected a magnificent 28 bags of rubbish including 14 bags of recycling. We also pulled out a mattress with a similarly unpleasantly stained sheet, a starter motor, a few strangely-shaped pieces of metal and a large cardboard tube.

All in all, it was an extremely successful litterpick which has locked away a great load of rubbish for good.

Contact Chris Partridge on 07717 412 270 or chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org for details

View Litterpick Maltings Park Splott in a larger map

Sunday, 5 June 2011

05.06.11 Cardiff Rivers Group, Keep Wales Tidy & Llanrumney Communities first team up to tackle Rumney River

Brilliant first clean up of the Rumney in who knows how long. This was a joint event between Llanrumney Communities First, Keep Wales Tidy and Cardiff Rivers Group. It was a great turn out for the Rivers Group, joined by a local Llanrumney family and a group of 8 young Llanrumney teenagers also joined in. We collected a massive amount of waste from the river, but spent more than a little time on a massive gate post stuck in concrete. Difficult challenge even for a tirfor winch and about 12 boys.

C1st even provided some post match fodder with pizza and pop, nice one Amy.

Slideshow of event.

Cardiff Rivers Group Chairman Gerard Opel, said, “This is the first time that our group has ventured to the River Rhymney and we had a really successful day. This is a lovely stretch of river which unfortunately seems to have been subjected to flytipping, so I am really pleased that local residents have decided to take action and start looking after the area and we were delighted to help out”.

Amy McCarthy, Llanrumney Communities First Development Worker said, “I would like to say a big thank you to Cardiff Rivers Group and Keep Wales Tidy for taking the time to come into Llanrumney to help clean the river and also for inspiring the young people from the community, who also took part, by showing them what can be achieved by such a hard working and dedicated team. The young people in the area often receive such a negative response, so it was brilliant to see them challenging those stereotypes and actively taking part in a project that benefits both their environment and community!”

Chris Partridge from Keep Wales Tidy said, ”Residents have shown today that they care about their area and I hope that this inspires more locals to get involved. We would like to replicate the success of Cardiff Rivers Group and set up a dedicated environmental group for Llanrumney who can undertake a wide range of projects. Hopefully today was just the start”.

The waste from the event was again taken away by Cardiff County Council's Parks Waste Services Team.

I'm sure we'll be back over here to help clear up the river again, but in the meantime C1st and KWT are setting up a Llanrumney Environmental group and this week we'll be meeting at 12pm on Thursday (9th June) at the John Reynolds Centre for a litterpick walkabout/discussion. Feel free to pop along. Contact chris.partridge@keepwalestidy.org or Amy McCarthy on amy.mccarthy@cardiff.gov.uk or 029 2079 3660 for more info.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Preparing Habitat Boxes for Wild Weekend Events

With plenty of forthcoming Wild Weekend Events, of which many involve bat or bird boxes, it can be daunting to make these at the event while the accuracy can be variable. As a rule, I strongly believe in teaching from the foundations upwards. This is in accordance to the wise biblical principle of teaching a man to fish rather than giving a man a fish. With the recent dormice boxes one young fellow, Ben, was keen to learn and get engaged with the entire process and that was great if you have the opportunity. Sometimes, however, you just have to go home, lock yourself in the garage and get sawing. In this case it was a friends garage and instead of a hand saw it was a sliding mitre saw. The accuracy and speed of this was fantastic and what would have taken several days took about a full day's work. Cheers again John!!!

Even with the boxes cut into the right lengths and angles, predrilling holes for volunteers saves time and wood which are both limited. John Adkins, tinkerer extraordinaire, quickly knocked up this jig to help me drill end holes for bat or bird box back plates. This quickly allows the operator to have a central drilled hole at a pre-determined distance from either edge of 150 mm width wood. These are the points in which 4 inch nails are driven into the tree or post when it comes to final siting. The jig is simple, but saved a load of time. Moreover, the jig was flipped over and bolted in place to give accurate side drilling holes. Pre-drilling helps to speed up the process of building the boxes at an event and crucially decreases wood splitting associated with straight nailing. Nice one, again John.

Roll on the events now!! Photos, videos and stories to follow.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Sowing Wildflower Seeds in Old St. Mellons; Wild Weekend for Wales

Some of the St. Mellons over 50's club returned to the hedge that they layed with us in Old St. Mellons earlier this year. The aim this time was to see how well the hedge had regrown and to further enhance local biodiversity by sowing a wildflower seed mixture in several patches along the hedgeline.

The first part was to chose suitable sites for the wildflower seeds. We found 2 relatively bare areas and decided to sow a small area within a large patch of nettles for the third site. These were cleared with Chillington hoes (Cheers Riverside Community Allotments for proving to me in seconds how good these tools are) followed by a little peat free compost. The seed packets were all mixed up and added to the compost layer. The seeds were gently "rolled" with the back of a spade followed by another sprinkling of compost. Finally the seeds were liberally watered. Hopefully, many of these will grow this year. The group have kept some of the packets back to re-sow in the Autumn, while we plan to germinate and grow on some cowslip seeds in September which will hopefully be ready for planting out along the hedge next Spring.

The funding for this was achieved through the recent Wild Weekend for Wales Project which was in partnership with B&Q. This particular one was kindly funded by John Lewis.

Event: Sunday 5th June 2.30 pm. Rumney River Clean in Llanrumney

Cardiff Rivers Group in partnership with Llanrumney Communities First and Keep Wales Tidy will join up with the fledgeling Llanrumney Environmental Group to tackle part of the Rumney River. We meet at 2.30 pm on Ball Lane at the Bridge near the Boxing Club, just passed Llanrumney High School. See Map:

View Sunday 5th June CRG in Llanrumney in a larger map

All equipment will be provided and all waste will be removed by Parks Waste Services. The event will go on until about 4 - 4.30pm depending on conditions.