The Llangollen in North Wales is one of Britain's most picturesque canals.
At 46 miles long, it winds its way from the foothills of Snowdonia
through Shropshire's 'lake district' into Cheshire's low-lying farmland.
|Cruising on the
Llangollen Canal. |
Photo c/o PA Images
the perfect time to cruise this canal and see the wildlife when it's slightly
quieter than in summer when tourists flock to the area.
Along its route,
the canal passes some remarkable scenery including a few man made wonders such
as the impressive Poscysyllte Aqueduct.
This 18th Century structure has
been described as one of the most amazing feats of water engineering in the world.
the aqueduct there's a stunning bird's eye view of the valley below.
you're cruising there's some great wildlife spotting opportunities.
area is ideal for the Common Kingfisher as they love slow-flowing waterways with
smooth, clear waters which provide great hunting habitat.
This small bird
is barely bigger than a House Sparrow but it's a master angler and it has been
known for a pair with a brood to catch over a 100 fish in a single day.
look out for Sand Martins just a short walk from the canal at the Wood Lane Reserve,
part working quarry, part but bird reserve.
There are over 200 pairs of
this amazing little bird nesting on the cliff face and darting back and forth.
is a relatively small site which makes birding easy, so it's great place to spend
a lazy afternoon.
canal route also takes you through an ancient water logged landscape that was
formed at the end of the Ice Age.
The area is characterised by meres which
have no flowing water draining in or out of them, making them of special value
Colemere is the second largest of Shropshire's meres, located
close to the canal, and is home to a very special plant called the 'Least Water'
It is the only known colony of these lilies in England, and the plant
is recognisable from its small yellow flowers and delicate leaves.
classic kettle hole mere was created during the Ice Age by a melting glacier with
steep, deep sides.
similar watery habitat is Whixall Moss on the English-Welsh border.
moss is an unusual landscape which was is man made in that it was intensively
cut for peat.
This is one of Britain's largest lowland raised bogs, an extraordinary
landscape and home to a whole host of endangered wildlife.
is a plant that grows in wet acid bogs - during the spring the seed heads with
their silky white plumes create the illusion of a snow covered landscape.
site is also important for bog moss, bog rosemary, sundew and dragonflies.
look out for large Raft Spiders walking around on the surface of the peat cuttings
looking for small insects to devour!
There are also 28 species of dragonfly
including the White faced Darter and the Four spot Chaser.
in spring include:
* Reed Buntings