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

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Wild Weekend Wildflowers update

Struggling with ideas on what to plant for the Wild Weekend application? Here's a quick idea. Homebase stock a collection of wildflower mixes. The native wildflower collections include Wildlife (£3.09), Woodland (£3.09), Primrose (£2.55), Poppy (£1.99), Cornfield (£3.09) and Hedgerow and Verges (pic above, £3.09). These seeds can be sown in Sep/Oct or in spring (Mar-May). Primrose need to be sown outside over winter in a coldframe, thinned into 3 inch pots and then planted out with a 6 inch spread in final location. Instructions are given on the back of all the seed packets.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Tidy Wales Week and Wild Weekend

Tidy Wales Week
Something to make a note of is September 17-23rd is Tidy Wales Week. Groups and Litter Champions are encouraged to organise an event as part of our largest annual campaign. You can download a registration form here by clicking on the "registration form" and Emailing it back to tww@keepwalestidy.org.
Wild Weekend
Secondly, Wild Weekend returns again this year later in the year and anyone working on public land can apply for Homebase vouchers up to £200. You can download an application form and other information can be found here.

Wild Weekend project 2011

July's Update

Don't the months fly by when you update a blog.
Anyway, my first 2 weeks of July were spent on my summer holidays in a tent with wet gear where it rained like a proper summer should. Anyway, that’s why Gore-Tex is so expensive. I will not write an essay on my vacation, but I think it is important to say that it was spent half in the Yorkshire Dales and the other in the Lake District. Both magnificent, but I noticed signs in both which were very interesting. In the Dales, there were plenty of signs saying they actively encourage no bins and that people should take their rubbish home with them (http://flic.kr/p/cGtusW). The forestry commission are also doing this. However, this didn’t stop several DoE groups dropping crisp and tracker bar wrappers up Pen y Ghent in the dales and Helvellin in the Lakes. In the Lakes in Ambleside, another famous tourist spot, there were signs up about littering and dog fouling just like everywhere else, but other signs saying that local PCSO’s were pursuing a zero tolerance to littering and dog fouling in Ambleside. The clear link here, is that both depend heavily on tourism for its economy. Out of interest, there was an item in a really interesting hardware store museum in Cockermouth which they have no idea what it was for, any ideas anyone? See here: http://flic.kr/p/cGtsgW
Either side of my holidays I set up a massive series of events with loads of different schools across Cardiff aimed to get loads of kids interested in pulling up Himalayan balsam. I spend loads of time from June-august pulling this up with various groups and the key to success is numbers. There is no easier method than better hundreds of kids out there pulling it up. So I called it a Himalayan balsam pullathon and it involved 8 schools. Most of this was in Pentwyn and there is still loads of balsam there as in other areas, but there are a selection of pictures here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjAfXaU7, http://flic.kr/s/aHsjAPf3RG & http://flic.kr/s/aHsjAfXhdm.
Pupils from St. Bernadettes pulling up balsam in the pouring rain
The important thing to remember with balsam is that you have to really stick to it. In LLanrumney for instance, there is simply too much of it present to seriously make an impact with the numbers that I have engaged with so far, but with CFMEP and Llanrumney Environment Group, Litter Champion Dave & Stella and Cardiff Rivers Group, we have cleared several small patches which will makes these area more manageable next year. We found several wildflower areas in one of the woods in Llanrumney and adjacent patches have no wildflowers whatsoever and this is what balsam does. Some pics here including some good ID photos: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjA3VQXG & http://flic.kr/s/aHsjA8T5d5.
The last part is part of a nice story where we have groups and individuals working along lost of parts of Roath Brook. The last of these is a local resident worried about flooding waters eroding banks and washing the soil around the roots of trees. There was plenty of evidence that this was happening, so we gave him a hand to unblock a section, pulling out some trolleys and sawing up some of the wood. Pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjAPhU2Q.
Return of the Barrie and to Crystal Glen, Llanishen
We also found a few balsam plants which were not rooted in and showed them to the local resident. After the event, the local resident emailed saying he found a load of balsam upstream. We returned the next week, pulled out another 20 bags of rubbish and cleared the section of balsam. Pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjAXxQb7. Worryingly, the site was racked with Japanese knotweed, which was certainly being washed downstream and in some places had re-established. As in many other places, knotweed in endemic and this flows into Roath Lake and down Roath Brook, where several groups perform loads of different activities.
Japanese Knotweed in the stream bank eroding away with stems and rhizomes downstream towards Roath Lake.

June's Update

I'm getting there with getting the blog up to date with June's update.

One of the nicest experiences of the month was receiving a letter via C2C from a 10 year old offering to give up her weekend time to help clear an area of land near her house which is often covered in rubbish. This rubbish comes partly from Taff Trail users and mainly from drivers along the A470 dumping stuff out of their windows. Anyway, young Ellie and her Dad are now litter champions and have made their first strides towards keeping this lovely patch tidy. The story will be in the next Capital Times for pics see here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzSG8xe.

Ellen, our youngest litter champion & friend
This time of the year is a big push, or rather pull for Himalayan balsam and loads of groups have been out pulling it. I’ve been working with loads of schools bringing them out and using the advantages of numbers to make a difference. Earlier this week I organised a Himalayan balsam pullathon in Pentwyn behind the Leisure Centre with local Schools from Pentwyn and Llanedeyrn taking part. For pics see here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjAfXaU7.
Schoolchildren from St. David's and St. Philip Evans Primary Schools
For some time, where it has been difficult to try and form new groups but have some volunteers we have brought in Primary schools to help out. Kids make a real big difference and often their efforts have a much stronger effect locally than an adult group. Hollybush Estate Residents’ Association have also realised this and engaged the local Primary School to proactively address littering in this estate in Whitchurch. We had our first event on the 28th of June and this could be the start of something great and can really make a big difference to small groups coping with large problems. I can’t show the photos yet as we are waiting for permissions to publish. Nigel Pugh, a litter champion in Canton also uses the same techniques and we also had our first survey and litter event with Radnor Road Primary School http://flic.kr/s/aHsjA3H1X7. Crucially, these events are in public shared spaces not inaccessible areas behind a fence or within the school. These are steps to building the volunteers of the future that we crave so much.
Radnor Road Primary Litterpick
My CFMEP group has spent the whole month pulling up Himalayan balsam and mainly in Llanrumney where there is miles and acres of it. It is in the woodlands on the banks of the river, along the streams and is encroaching into the meadows that back onto the Park and Ride Car Park (we will not mention the miles of knotweed that is also here along the River). Anyway, we helped out local litter champion Dave who is tackling this pretty much by himself. Pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzWfPmS, http://flic.kr/s/aHsjA3VQXG & http://flic.kr/s/aHsjA8T5d5.

CFMEP in Llanrumney


Thursday, 16 August 2012

May's monthly update

I've been even more busy than usual recently, so updating some history from May onwards...
May (and early June’s) largest event was probably the final touches on the Pond in Splott. This was right on top of an old pond in Ysgol Glan Morfa. It was rebuilt and populated with native plants and it was surrounded by a greenwood fence and gate all for £370 (£300 Tidy Towns & £70 South Splott Residents’ Association). We involved the school, local Church Groups & Partners from John Lewis came along and prepared the wood and installed the fence. The kids from Ysgol Glan Morfa organised a grand opening day and dedicated the area to the memory of a much loved member of staff who had recently passed away. Everyone loves it and everyone really cares about it. Summary pics here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzokx73
Part of the pond in Ysgol Glan Morfa's grounds

This month saw the opening of the Wales Coastal Path, of which some passes along the Southern edge of Cardiff (Map here: http://flic.kr/p/bB22qg). We hosted several events along the coastal path in strong winds and torrential driving rain in Atlantic Wharf (http://flic.kr/s/aHsjz7brcm) to glorious conditions near Rover way with the largest ever CFMEP event with 30+people 90 bags of rubbish (http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzD8khx)
Coastal Path Clean Up, 50 odd of the 90 bags collected
We did some beautiful clean ups along the Taff in Forest Farm where the trees where laden with sanitary towels. The sky however was blue, the water calm and afterwards the bank looked fantastic (http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzrZ4Zv).
Forest Farm before and after
Did my first litterpick in leafy Llanishen and was rewarded with the find of the month of a slug which was at least 10 inches long (http://flic.kr/p/byFand).
10 inch slug
Did our first Chapel Wood tidy up between local school kids, who we have been working very closely with over the last 2 years, and local residents. This was a particular coup as initially, nobody was interested in doing anything in these neglected but beautiful woods (http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzehTZA).
Residents, St. Philip Evans Primary School and Parks Services help clear Chapel Wood
Lastly, we have been developing links between Glyncoed Primary School and woods nearby to try and bring these back into community ownership and usage. Here with the after school eco-club, we winched a tree out from the stream, which would have attracted litter. Importantly, it was great fun and again helped to foster stronger local feeling towards these woods as an important amenity for quality of life rather than a dumping ground (http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzfZGbJ).
Log rolling