“Have a bash” in Castle Archdale!

21st May 2019

As part of the ‘Aliens on the Lough’ project, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is teaming up with Castle Archdale Country Park to tackle some of the invasive plants growing in the woodland. Volunteers are invited to come along and participate in a Himalayan Balsam Bashing Day on Saturday 1st June 2019 from 1pm – 3pm. On the day, you will learn to identify different invasive species, get hands on experience of pulling some Himalayan Balsam on site and find out more about the Aliens on the Lough project.

An invasive alien species is any non-native animal or plant which can spread and cause damage to local biodiversity, the economy and health. Himalayan Balsam is one such invasive species of plant growing in Castle Archdale which has a negative effect on native woodland biodiversity. As the name suggests, its origins are in the Himalayas and was introduced in 1839. It now invades riverbanks, ditches and woodlands, rapidly taking over where it grows and shading-out native plants and flowers. Fortunately, it is one of the easiest invasive species to control, which can be achieved by pulling it out or bashing it before it flowers and spreads its seeds. This is best done in June when the plant is high enough to easily work with.

The ‘Aliens on the Lough’ project, which is supported by the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, is one of 23 projects that will be facilitated by the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership programme to promote, protect and enhance the natural, built and cultural heritage of the Lough Erne region.

Volunteers are asked to meet in the Courtyard Hostel room at Castle Archdale Country Park at 1.00 pm on Saturday 1 June 2019 for a quick informative talk on the project with refreshments, followed by the Himalayan Balsam practical. This is suitable for all ages, but participants are asked to please wear clothing for working outdoors.

If you see what you believe to be an invasive alien species please do not cut or disturb it, but report it on www2.habitas.org.uk/records/ISI. The Council’s Biodiversity team can also provide advice on invasive alien species.

To book your place or to get involved in the project, please visit Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s website www.fermanaghomagh.com or contact the Council’s Biodiversity Officer, Julie Corry, on 0300 303 1777, textphone 028 8225 6216 or email julie.corry@fermanaghomagh.com.