The Big Paddle Cleanup is coming soon (4th - 12th June) but that has not stopped clubs getting out on their local waterways to rid them of litter.
Wey Kayak Club hosted their spring river clean on 14th May at the River Wey which runs through the Guildford area in Surrey.
The club has been given a Clear Access, Clear Waters Champion award in recognition of their dedication to protecting the places we paddle.
Chantelle Grundy, Access and Environment Lead at British Canoeing, said: “I was absolutely delighted to join Wey Kayak Club on their spring river clean and paddle alongside their junior members , my first in a bell boat!
“The children’s enthusiasm for removing plastic pollution and junk from their local river coupled with their knowledge of the impacts on the environment was truly inspiring.”
Find out how you can become a CACW Champion Club by contacting [email protected]
Pip Rowlandson, from Wey Kayak Club, has shared the following blog with us.
We covered approx three miles from the Stoke Lock to the Dapdune Wharf, with some of our river bank walkers picking litter from the towpath going right up to Guildford.
We also had a dedicated group of volunteers tidying up vegetation around our club and access points to the river bank from the club portages.
The event is always a very popular day with all the juniors, coaches, committee , adults and families and especially our chairman and vice president of British Canoeing, Jim Rossiter.
We managed to collect tons of plastics, cans, bottles, glass, masonry debris, two shopping trolleys, umbrellas and lots of things that shouldn’t be in the river.
We used Clear Access, Clear Waters litter bags, gloves and pickers all provided by Chantelle Grundy, who we were delighted to meet in person.
She travelled from Nottingham to present us with our Clear Access, Clear Waters Club Champion Award.
We are so honoured and extremely proud of our environmental award and really are very passionate about our river cleans and the environment.
Wey Kayak Club links closely with the National Trust as the rivers run through their land.
We liaise for every river clean with lengthsmen Mark Walker and Laura Curtis, who work tirelessly to keep the water levels and environment monitored 24 hours a day.
We were able to borrow a few more litter pickers from them and they always help up with recycling the litter we collect from the river and towpaths.
The feel good factor from a volunteer day keeping our rivers clean is immense. One participant said: “The river cleans are the highlight in the diary for my two children, they wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
As well as regular river cleans over the last few years, Wey Kayak club members have helped remove floating pennywort from the River Wey.
There was no space for a canoe or kayak due to a blanket of pennywort but, hey presto, after a day of volunteer action we could allow river traffic through and the environmental pathway was clear.
During lockdown, we linked up with Emily Stevenson who is the founder of Beach Guardian in Cornwall.
The bug of litter removal and the impact we saw in just a few days, was amazing.
Emily presented a talk on Zoom to the Wey Kayak Club showing how important river cleans are as they all ultimately affect the sea, if litter and pollutants are transported down.
Mental health groups and volunteer groups notice that loneliness in lockdown meant people couldn’t see others. A volunteer group outside doing something wonderful as a team for the environment is a perfect solution.
We'll continue to love our river and continue our ‘one a paddle’ campaign (picking up one piece of litter each time we visit the river).
The enjoyment from a club river clean is the best as we all meet up as one club.
Thank you British Canoeing for our award. We are super proud!
British Canoeing and its partners have organised the Big Floating Pennywort Removal Day at the River Wey Navigation, Surrey, on 21 May, as part of the week.
If you can take part, please complete this form by 18 May.