dayinsure woodland trust smithills

Himalayan Balsam Bashing with the Woodland Trust

On 12th June 2024 members of the Dayinsure team made their way to Smithills Estate in Bolton to aid the Woodland Trust in some much-needed Himalayan Balsam removal on the site.


About Smithills Estate

Smithills Estate is the largest site the Woodland Trust has ever acquired in England, close to the famous Winter Hill TV mast, spanning an area around the size of 900 football pitches.

This site is a mix of grassland, farmland, moorland, ravines and bog habitats with panoramic views over Bolton and Manchester. Since 2015, the Woodland Trust has planted around 130,000 trees at the site.

Many aspects of Smithills Estate are in the process of being restored and revitalised, making it a wonderful place to visit as it continues to transform.


What is Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam is an annual plant, native to the western Himalayas. Introduced to Britain in 1839, it is listed under The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019  , meaning it is an offence to plant or otherwise cause this species to grow in the wild. It is a vigorous annual plant which grows and spreads quickly and can reach heights up to two and a half metres. It’s known to form tall, dense colonies and consequently shades out and smothers native vegetation as it grows and spreads.

The ideal time to control Himalayan Balsam is before the flowers appear – the plants flower continuously from June to October. This prevents seed development and can help to drastically reduce the spread of the plant.


What we did

The Dayinsure team spent the day learning about the Woodland Trust’s largest site in England and helping to remove the invasive Himalayan Balsam from the Smithills Estate.

This invasive species poses a significant threat to native flora and fauna by outcompeting indigenous plants. Removing this invasive plant species not only helps to protect the biodiversity of our environment but also ensures the sustainability of our natural habitats for future generations.

“I had such an enjoyable day at the Woodland Trust’s Smithills site helping to remove Himalayan Balsam.  It felt so worthwhile to help protect and preserve the native species and learn so much from the amazing guides – I will definitely be returning for another visit to further explore the site.”

Jo Maundrill, Dayinsure


Getting hands on at a volunteering event with the Woodland Trust, a charity Dayinsure has supported since 2023, was a great experience. As I was born in Lancashire, I especially cherished exploring and helping at the Smithills Estate, an area close to my heart.”

Andrew Brady, Dayinsure


If you’d like to learn more about our partnership with the Woodland Trust, you can visit our partnership page here.