life for old canals
are great places to go wildlife hunting - because where disturbance has been kept
to a minimum, nature has just flooded back in.
The Pocklington Canal is
one of the most important waterways for wildlife in the whole of the UK.
Britain's canals are great places for wildlife watching
especially if you can travel by boat.
This canal's eye view gives you a
brilliant overview of nature above and below the water from birds and plants to
insects and aquatic life.
The Pocklington Canal flows through the Vale of
York from the foothills of the Yorkshire Wolds to join the River Derwent.
can walk the canal's entire length on a grassy towpath.
The canal fell into
disuse when the railways arrived - now about half of its ten mile length is open
to boats - but the rest is unrestored. And its here that wildlife has really moved
The canal is bordered by grassland which offers rich pickings
for the Barn Owl which is thriving in this ideal environment.
The best way
to spot the owls is to look at dusk or dawn when you'll see them flying about
ten feet off the ground in search of food.
Another give-away is the presence
of kennel-like structures which are Barn Owl boxes.
Finally, it's a good
idea to gain some height in this flat landscape - use a bridge over the canal
as a good vantage point - and don't forget your binoculars.
the canal towpath you'll see grassland plants like ox-eye daisy and betony.
in the water you'll see phragmites reeds, water lilies, water forget-me-not &
And plants on a waterway like this mean only one thing...
Look for vegetation like lilies - Damselflies can often
be seen resting on the leaves which they use as a launch pad.
of Dragonflies and Damselflies can be found along the ten mile stretch of the
canal including the Emperor, Britain's largest.
Characterised by its greeny
blue thorax, the Emperor is in great contrast to another canal resident, the brightly
coloured Red-eyed Damselfly.
Warm days are best - the insects are most active
from about 10.30am into the early afternoon.
Photos of Pocklington Canal courtesy of British