Two people sat in a canoe. The person sat at the back of the canoe is pulling a full, black bin bag out of the river.

Paddlers and environmentalists join forces to tackle litter in the River Eden

Last Saturday, Carlisle Canoe Club members and North Cumbria Rescue and Response Trust joined forces with Eden Rivers Trust’s volunteers to clean up a section of the River Eden at the Sands Rapids.

Working together, the 38 volunteers were able to tackle litter both in the river and on the riverbank. With the recent dry and sunny weather, the lower river levels meant that the paddlers were able to uncover items lurking under the surface that would normally never see the light of day.

Two canoes on the river, each with two people paddling
A man, sat in a canoe picking out rubbish from the riverbank

Bridget Ennini, Chair, Carlisle Canoe Club said:

We had a fantastic turnout and managed to recover a wide range of rubbish from tyres and shopping trolleys to assorted plastic and dog poo!

 As a Club we use this stretch of the river on a frequent basis, and it is important to us that it is kept clean not only to ensure our own safety as paddlers but also to protect our local environment for the future.

Two people sat in a canoe. The person sat at the back of the canoe is pulling a full, black bin bag out of the river.
A man walks through long grass and tall plants with yellow flowers, with a bin bag in his hand, looking for litter.
Four people wearing hi-viz vests walking along the path with bin bags and litter pickers.
A large group of people standing in front of a pile of rubbish bags and tyres.

The volunteers also turned their attention to another unwelcome visitor, Himalayan balsam. This invasive, non-native species has taken over this spot, outcompeting native plants and causing bank erosion. Fortunately, it’s easy (and fun!) to pull it out and ‘bash’ it. Now’s the ideal time to tackle this alien invader before it flowers and seed pods develop.

Two people with a bunch of long green plants in their hands, twisting off the rhizomes.
A woman carrying a bunch of long green plants (Himalayan balsam) in her hands.

Jenni Payne, our volunteer and community outreach coordinator added:

We were delighted to join forces with Carlisle Canoe Club – something we’ve been able to do thanks to a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund through our Access to Eden: breaking barriers, building bridges project.

It’s great that so many local people turned up, wanting to help to clean up our rivers and riverbanks, whether that’s litter or getting rid of invasive non-native species such as Himalayan balsam.

There’s a real buzz about it when we work together like this; we make a fantastic impact and see results really quickly.


Eden Rivers Trust runs regular volunteer work parties throughout the Eden catchment.

Visit our Things to Do page for details of the next one.


Photos: Stuart Walker Photography

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Eden Rivers Kingfisher Icon