Volunteers at Cardiff River Organization cleaned up Hendre Park Island

Tackling litter and waste on paths next to watercourses, removal of rubbish from rivers, cutting back overhanging trees to manage habitat……. Those strenuous work might not be everyone’s way of spending a restful weekend, but it is the perfect way to get close to nature and relax, according to one local volunteer.

David King has been giving up his free time to clean the River in Cardiff for more than a decade and he is part of a team of volunteers who work for the Cardiff River Group.

“I have been involved in this kind of activity for ten years,” said David, the treasurer and Events of CRP. “I really enjoy doing this…… I can get close to the nature and meet people. Many volunteers here today are people I’ve known since 2012, and also there are always some new friends. Working with people who love nature is really a good thing in my life.”

Last Saturday, 23 volunteers from Cardiff River Group gathered in the Hendre Lake Island to clear the area of litter. The group was set up in 2009 and this weekend was their 350th river cleaning event. 

In this special event, the volunteers made their first visit to an island in Hendre Park.

In order to get on the island, people break the ice on the lake, and worked for two hours in sub-zero weather, clearing the tiny island covered with thorns and willow trees into a clean habitat.

After more than a decade of activity, Cardiff River Group volunteers think they have made difference. Chris Hackett, a member of Cardiff River Group, said:“ Over the years, it has been noticeable that litter picks in previously picked areas result in fewer bags of rubbish collected. I’d like to think that if an area looks clean, then the public are less likely to drop litter, and this seems to be the case here. ” 

I am involved in their activities as well. I picked up a scythe to cut down the trunks of the trees that affected the aesthetics, and used gardening shears to trim the branches of the trees. Even though my shoes were covered in mud, but when I saw that the small island, which was originally overgrown with grasses, was made neat and tidy under the efforts of the volunteers for two hours, I felt a sense of achievement that I had never experienced before.

When the event is over, Hendre Park Island became a new place.

It is noteworthy that the members of the Cardiff River organization are dominated by retirees. Cardiff Rivers Group founder member Dave Kin said they hope some student volunteers will join in and “inject some young strength into the Cardiff River Organization”.

If you want to be a member of the Cardiff River Organization and contribute to improving the ecology in Cardiff, please contact them through https://cardiffriversgroup.org.uk/.