Monday 19th November - On Tuesday 13th November, Somerset Wildlife Trust joined forces with community groups, companies, schools and local people to clean up the town for Taunton’s wildlife and wellbeing.
Groups from Viridor, Pennon Group, South West Water and Inland Waterways Association came together at COACH to paddle the River Tone in canoes and kayaks with instructors from Channel Adventure, cleaning as they went, and combed the riverbanks and footpaths for discarded litter – helped by Shane Austin – a seasoned litter-picker who frequently clears rubbish from the local rivers and canals in his kayak.
Elsewhere in town, a group of 35 people, including members of Friends of Longrun Meadow, My Day Care Service, 41F (Taunton & District) Squadron Air Training Corps Cadets, CO2 Balance and members of the public took part in a litter pick in Longrun Meadow, collecting 8 large bags of litter, as well as a row of seats that had been abandoned in the park.
Other picks were organised by: Friends of Comeytrowe Park, Taunton Green Parents, Taunton Canoe Club, Green Days Daycare, Tesco, Taunton Doctors and Stowey Green Spaces took place across town from Bishop’s Hull, to Staplegrove, Lambrook, Blackbrook and Tangier – and even as far afield as Nether Stowey - which saw members of the public and community groups joining in. Schools such as Blackbrook School and St George’s Catholic School also took part, with other schools such as Bishops Henderson School and Cotford St Luke Primary School running their own litter picks in the following days. Our littlest litter-pickers were from Tops Mini Mariners, a group of 15 pre-school children and 5 staff who did an amazing job clearing litter from the Hankridge area, collecting 4 bags in total!
In total, over 300 people took part, who collected over 60 bags of rubbish to be disposed of, with even more totals still coming in. Where possible, rubbish was sorted into different types of recyclables to be processed. Some very unusual items such as a bedframe, mattress, stepladder, airbed, chair, bench, several umbrellas, a coolbox, a beach windbreak, a toy raccoon, 4 rubber ducks and 2 traffic cones were pulled from the river itself. And it’s not over yet – several schools are litter-picking into this week too!
Jolyon Chesworth, Nature and Wellbeing Manager said “We were absolutely delighted by the way that people from all parts of town and across a range of communities took part. It shows this is something that people really care about; that people are happy to take responsibility to help make a difference and demonstrates to the wider public the huge impact that a collective effort can make in terms of keeping our local green spaces, streets and workplaces clean and safe for people and for wildlife. A big thank you to all who took part.”
Ed Mitchell, Viridor’s Director of Environment and Sustainability said “With our head office so close to the Bridgwater and Taunton canal, together with Somerset Wildlife Trust, we hope to inspire others to think about what happens to their waste. If placed in the right bin, many of the items we found, like plastic bottles, can be re-processed and given new life, instead of entering the watercourse and putting our wildlife at risk.”
For interviews and further information please contact Kirby Everett on 01823 652413 or email: or Beccy Willmetts on 01823 652414 or
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About Somerset Wildlife Trust – www.somersetwildlife.org
Somerset’s wildlife is part of what makes living, working and visiting the county so special. Somerset Wildlife Trust has been protecting vulnerable wildlife and preserving Somerset’s wild places for over 50 years and, with over 19,000 members, is the largest conservation charity in the county. Alongside our members and volunteers we work year round to protect wildlife, transform landscapes and put nature back into people’s lives.
Our reserves holding of over 1700 hectares incorporates a diverse range of habitats from wetlands to woodlands, grasslands and meadows, and provide secure environments for a diverse range of wildlife such as Dormice, Otters, Hedgehogs, Barn Owls and many other species - as well as providing safe havens for some of Somerset’s most iconic species such as Bittern and Large Blue butterfly.
The majority of our work is made possible through the support of our members and people who live and work in the county who choose to make donations, fundraise for us or leave generous legacies. By working together with our members and supporters we really can make a difference.