A huge field of Himalayan Balsam needs clearing next summer.

Himalayan Balsam bashers have been out this summer on the banks of the Darent, led by the indefatigable Mark Gallant of the North West Kent Countryside Partnership. This is part of the annual management of this invasive non-native species by teams of volunteers. Sessions took place at Horton Kirby, Shoreham, Farningham and Brasted.

Himalayan Balsam out-competes native plants and causes river bank erosion. It produces copious amounts of seeds which are dispersed by seedpod explosions, so plants need to be pulled and crushed before they start to produce seeds in late summer.

While the battle is being won in some areas – particularly the mid and lower Darent, a huge field of the plant has been uncovered in Brasted – stretching as far as the eye can see.

The job of removal was started this August, but an army of volunteers will need to be recruited to help clear it next summer. Keep an eye out next spring for details of how to get involved – or sign up now via our Volunteering page.