Railway and Canal Walk



A short walk along a local, disused railway then back along the canal

This afternoon we decided to go for a short walk while the weather was mild. It's rained more or less constantly over the past week, so we've not really felt like walking! It's a route we've walked many times, so I don't usually take any photos - or certainly not enough to make even a short blog post about! This time I did take a few photos of the nature around us.

The walk itself is only short from our home - a little under 4 miles - and very easy. Most of the route is flat, as you'd expect for an old railway line and a canal. The is one slight uphill section, as we leave the railway and climb to the top of a nearby canal tunnel. It's a short gradual climb and the section at the tunnel has newish steps which were installed a few years ago as part of the canal towpath restoration.

All of the photos here are the things we saw along the railway and by the woodland, before we got to the canal, except for the purple loosestrife above which was on the bank of the canal. Anneka and I make a good team when we're walking! I'm usually looking at the sky to see what birds are in the area, while Anneka looks to the ground for flowers and creepy crawlies!

We saw some Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera- actually, we saw lots! It was everywhere! The seeds commonly travel by water, and we saw evidence of this further along the walk. There is a bridge which crosses the river and here the water usually slows to a crawl. This had given the seeds enough time to settle, germinate and for the plant to grow to its full height! The side of the bridge over the river and nearest to the railway line was covered in this!


Further along was some Ragwort (Senecio jacobaeawith about five Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae) caterpillars on it. I like how the second part of the Latin name for both of these is incredibly similar. They certainly were made to go together!


Then we saw a Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) butterfly which, after I'd chased it for about half a mile, was kind enough to pose for a photo!


There were still some Common Evening-Primrose (Oenothera biennis) flowers in bloom.


Along the most well kept section of the disused railway, we saw this fungus. I think it's a member of the Boletus genus, but I'm not sure which specific member!


There was some Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)...


...and some Harebell (Campanula rotundifoliaflowers too.


Just before we reached the end of the railway section, we saw some Perforate St John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum).


There wasn't much of anything in the short woodland section, but it's not unusual for this particular area. When we reached the other side of the woodland, we were pleasantly surprised to see some Heather (Calluna vulgaris)!


Heather is not something we've ever seen on this walk, so it really was a genuine surprise. I even did a double take! After this we went up to the canal tunnel and then headed for home. Shortly after the tunnel, we saw lots of the Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) shown in the first photo.

The start and finish of this walk are absolutely horrible. From our house we have to go past a supermarket and a run-down industrial estate. The route back takes us the same way also. This middle section of this walk, however, is very pleasant with lots of different wildlife to see. There are usually one or two buzzards nearby, some sheep and cows in the fields, and lots of things which fly away before you can take a photo. You hardly meet anyone else along here, which makes it a very peaceful place to be.

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