On Philpot’s Farm you’ll find some riverfly monitoring

Thames21’s Rivers Pinn and Fray project officer Paul Busby takes us through the first Habitat Management event at Philpot’s Farm Meadow, Yiewsley, Middlesex.

A band of intrepid residents turned up for a clean up event, organised by Thames21 at Philpots Farm Meadow, Yiewsley.

A mountain of rubbish was cleared from the meadow, ponds, ditches and riverbank and the volunteers started to tackle and thin out the invasive vegetation from the wildlife ponds.

The health of the river was then monitored using a method developed by anglers called “The Riverfly Monitoring Initiative”, which involves taking a three minute kick sample of the riverbed and evaluating both the number and variety of invertebrates living on the riverbed.

The volunteers were lucky enough to see a mayfly larvae in the sample, indicating that pollution levels in this stretch of the river are better than most urban rivers.

Philpots Farm Meadow is a fantastic open space and has the potential to be even better for wildlife and to allow people to enjoy this greenspace, which is only up the road from the busy Yiewsley High Street.

The team of dedicated volunteers achieved a lot in just two hours and we managed to fill a whole truck with litter and dumped larger items including a shopping trolley. However we will need to come back to make further improvements to the area.

Mayfly larvae were found in the riverfly monitoring

A number of passing walkers commented positively on the group’s activities. We also received praise from Jon Gurr, Countryside and Conservation Officer for the London Borough of Hillingdon, who joined us on the day. He said: “Thanks again for your combined efforts at Philpot’s Farm. These are the activities that really make a difference to these places and for those people who visit them.”

Thames21 will organise further working parties at this location, involving local residents, dog walkers, joggers, community groups, nature lovers and in fact anyone else who likes being outdoors and being part of a friendly team improving our local environment.

The aim of our work is to establish a Friends Group along the whole stretch of the River Pinn and Fray’s River and we will provide training, education, tools and refreshments; to improve the local areas around the river, evaluate pollution using methods such as riverfly monitoring; and to control invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam.

Events are being held all along the River Pinn from Ickenham to Philpots Farm Meadow, Yiewsley and along the Fray’s River from Uxbridge to West Drayton, so you can pick and choose what events you would like to attend.

The next Friends of the River Pinn event is at Philpots Farm Meadows, Yiewsley on Tuesday February 28, with the next Fray’s River event on Wednesday March 1. All events are between 10am and 12.30pm.

Further details of all the Thames21 events can be found on the website www.thames21.org.uk. or contact Paul Busby, Fray’s River and River Pinn Project Officer on e-mail paul.busby@thames21.org.uk

  • Keep an eye on the events calendar for all activities we run on the Fray’s River and River Pinn.