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Sat. 8 July 2017 Ragwort pulling at Whitepark Bay

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Whitepark Bay

152 Whitepark Road

Ballintoy

BT54 6NH

United Kingdom

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A VOLUNTEER project being organised and promoted privately by Ross of Whoop Events, to be run by the National Trust (NT).

The goal is to clear excessive quantities of the potentially poisonous weed RAGWORT. The event will be run by Dr Cliff Henry. We are asking that if possible, volunteers who THINK they may be able to help BOOK slots - parking is limited.

Many hands make light work. The work's physically demanding and we know from experience that 30 minutes may be enough for some of us. That's why we offer a maximum two-hour slot, but just do what you're able. Slots are 9am-11am, 11am-1pm, 1pm-3pm and 3pm-5pm.

When you register, we only ask for data to help us manage the event. It won't be shared or used for any other purpose. We only need basic personal information and NO financial info. Once you've registered, you're able to cancel or change things.

When you register, you'll be asked a number of questions and will be unable to finish registration without responding. This is because we need to convey key information so we don't waste your time. If you feel uncomfortable about any aspect of registration, you are invited to contact Dr Henry (Cliff) for clarification - cliff.henry@nationaltrust.org.uk.

The main park offers very limited parking but weather permitting, we'll be able to use an adjoining field. To help with volunteer numbers, we're asking that you have more than one person in your vehicle if possible. It's obvious of course, but three volunteers per car triples volunteer numbers and so on.

Q) Will we clear the whole site in one day? NO. We're talking about a large area. Q) Once cleared, is the weed eradicated forever? NO. Ragwort is a biennial, with a distinctive two-stage growth. Year one, it has the shape of a ground-lying rosette. Year two, it sprouts and its crown is bright yellow. Each plant releases thousands of seeds. Only by removing most or all of the root system is it meaningfully dealt with.

The long-term objective is to loosen the stranglehold that ragwort and brambles have on Whitepark Bay. Once achieved, other plants will have their opportunity to re-establish, making it easier to maintain a new status quo.

There are misconceptions about ragwort in relation to cattle and horses. Problems arise if it is cut and gets in the food supply. It loses the bitter taste which cattle and horses avoid when the plant is living. If then eaten, its effect is accumulative and irreversible. Ragwort has its place at Whitepark Bay. Even though it could be a few years before ragwort levels are visibly reduced, it is likely to be an ever-present and food for its one true nemesis - the larvae of the cinnabar moth.

So then, who's up for a bit of toil, sweat and tears ... and that feel-good factor when your work is done?

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Date and Time

Location

Whitepark Bay

152 Whitepark Road

Ballintoy

BT54 6NH

United Kingdom

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