Paddle Peak clear discarded garden furniture, broken kayak and road barrier from River Derwent

Paddle Peak.
Paddle Peak.

Volunteers took to the River Derwent in canoes and kayaks to clear rubbish from a 20-mile stretch in a five-day operation.

Five truckloads of waste were collected including a TV, wheelie bin, wheelbarrow, bike, shopping trolley, road barrier and garden furniture set including parasol.

Road cones and wet wipes were the most common goods among a haul of plastic bottles, chip trays, polystyrene cups and even a broken kayak.

At the helm of the mass clean-up was Paddle Peak, a community group of Derbyshire paddlesport businesses, clubs and professionals who scoured the stretch between Rowsley and Milford.

PeteAstles, organiser of River Clean and founder of Paddle Peak, said: “It was really great to clean sections of river that we’ve already done a few months ago. There was far less waste there and instead of pulling big items out that have been there for years we could really work on cleaning out the nitty gritty of plastic bags and wet wipes that are entangled in the trees.

“At the top of the valley we were pulling out agricultural plastic waste, that was stuck in the trees.

“As we meandered our way down the valley and into the towns, we pulled out bigger items that had clearly just been thrown in and fly tipped.

“Downstream of Matlock Bath there’s always a load of drinks and food waste that’s been discarded over the fence or blown in off the pavement.”

Peter said the River Derwent was the lifeblood of the valley. “It used to be the power that drove the mills,” he said: “Cleaning the river preserves the valley and protect its wildlife. Cleaning plastic from the river saves it washing out to sea therefore protecting our wonderful environment for everyone to enjoy.”

Paddle Peak has set out its goals for the future which include inspiring local business, especially fast food outlets, to go plastic free. The group would like to see the elimination of plastic bags of flour being thrown into the River Derwent during the Boxing Day Raft Race. Another aim is the provision of more rubbish bins and recycling facilities in key areas along the riverside.

For more details, go to www.paddlepeak.org.