Project - River Holme Connections


In Progress


Invasive, non-native species (INNS) are plants introduced into this country from overseas, either accidentally or purposely, in the case of ornamental garden plants. Many INNS, such as Himalayan balsam and American skunk cabbage, thrive and spread quickly in our climate, which has a detrimental effect on native wildlife.

We hold regular work parties to remove invasive species that can be handled safely and easily.

Project cost: team and volunteer hours


Our INNS project would not be possible without our dedicated and valued volunteers. Thank you!


Non-native invasive species (INNS) – both plants and animals – can upset fragile ecosystems. Invasive plants, such as Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam, rhododendron, giant hogweed and American skunk cabbage can erode riverbanks and overshadow native plants, reducing the availability of food and habitats for native animal species.

Through our INNS Out programme, our long-term plan is to rid the Holme River catchment of invasive plant species by raising awareness, education and practical eradication programmes.

Tackling INNS

Balsam bashing

Himalayan balsam can be pulled up easily and safely, even by children. Our Beat the Balsam campaign runs throughout the summer when we host ‘Balsam bashing’ events. We’re always looking for volunteers, if you’re interested in taking part, subscribe to our newsletter by completing the form at the bottom of this page, or keep an eye on our latest events for more information.

American skunk cabbage

It’s now illegal to sell American skunk cabbage in this country, and if it’s already taken hold lots of digging is usually the only way to get rid of it. Click here to download the Scottish National Heritage leaflet on controlling American skunk cabbage.

The roots must be completely removed to prevent American skunk cabbage from reappearing. For those who don’t mind getting your hands dirty though, our Big Dig volunteer days are for you. Subscribe to our newsletter by completing the form at the bottom of this page, or keep an eye on our latest events for more information.


This garden escapee spreads quickly and it takes a great deal of digging to get rid of it. To stop it spreading in the first place, always take garden waste to a recycling centre and never dump garden waste in rivers.

Giant hogweed

If you think you’ve spotted giant hogweed DO NOT TOUCH! Keep children and animals well clear, take a note of the location and contact us or call the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

The sap from giant hogweed, which is found in the plant’s leaves, spiny stem, flowers and seeds, makes skin extremely sensitive to sunlight. This can result in severe burns and sometimes permanent scarring. It can be particularly dangerous if giant hogweed sap gets into your eyes as, in extreme cases, it can cause blindness. If the sap gets onto your skin wash immediately and thoroughly with cold water, stay out of sunlight and seek professional medical advice.

Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed can only be controlled by licensed operatives. Please visit our INNS Out: Japanese knotweed page for more information.