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Black Bag Friday 2023 – Cleaning instead on consuming!

Fifteen volunteers from the local charity Paddle Peak took to waters of the River Derwent on what has been re named Black Bag Friday. Their mission was to clear the river banks of debris left behind after Octobers Storm Babet a few weeks ago.

Donned with thermal layers and dry suits the team jumped into their canoes and kayaks and cleaned rubbish along the river banks from Matlock to Cromford. Almost a ton of waste was removed from the river consisting mainly of hash bale polythene wrap and netting. The flood waters had washed hay bales off the fields around Darley Dale and sent them on a journey down the Derwent, leaving a trail of plastic pollution and destruction on their way. Other items recovered including litter, washed down from Matlock Bath, road cones, a high chair, bicycle and even a trombone! It’s truly shocking to see what some people dispose of into the river!

Event organiser and Paddle Peak founder Peter Astles commented on the day’s effort - “ it was great to have such a large and experienced team on the river clean today. We made light work of the carnage caused by the floods. Thanks so much for helping out! “ and he added “ There’s still a lot of bale wrap in the trees above Matlock, we’ll return very soon and get as much as we can removed.“

Paddle Peak is a local community charity and British Canoeing club. Their work is to improve access to water for paddlesports in the Derwent Valley, Inspire and enable local young people to take up kayaking and to clean and look after the River Derwent and protect it’s wildlife. For more information checkout their website or follow their Facebook page.

Huge thanks to all of the Paddle Peak volunteers that braved the cold and fast water to help clean the river. Thanks to Derbyshire Dales District Council for collecting the huge piles of river rubbish from Artists Corner, Matlock Bath and Cromford.


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