Quiet reaches of the Kennet and Avon Canal
near the Dundas Aqueduct, Wiltshire
... those waterways rich in history and in wildlife. The 18thC Industrial Revolution fostered a huge growth in trade that horse-drawn wagons were unable to cope with.
The answer was found in canals – giving swifter transport and an enormous increase in capacity .. which lasted for a century and a half until the railways came along.
Britain’s first Canal – the Fossdyke, which is still in use, was built by the Romans in the 2nd C AD to join Lincoln to the River Trent, on to the Humber Estuary and North Sea.
Many canals, especially now along their disused stretches, are havens for wildlife; while the towpaths have become cycle and pedestrian trails.
The flight of 16 consecutive locks at
Caen Hill on the Kennet and
Avon Canal, Wiltshire, England
The water supports an abundance of insects and other small animals ... larvae of dragonflies, water boatmen, plankton water fleas, microscopic algae etc; deeper water provide havens for aquatic plants and fauna; grasses, rushes and wildflowers at the water’s edge.
Canal tunnels also provide a home for nocturnal bats; while warblers, wagtails and flycatchers nest in the reeds ... so these ancient routes are once again a nurturer of life.
That is Canal – C for Canal
Part of the ABC - April 2011 - A - Z Challenge - Aspects of the British Countryside
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories