Planting water plantain
CHILDREN FROM ST EDWARDS Church of England Primary School in Castleton, Rochdale, are pictured at work with volunteers from the Canal & River Trust, helping to ensure the continued survival of a rare aquatic plant.
The Trust, working in partnership with the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, is trying to reverse the long-term decline of floating water plantain, Luroniumnatans. Chester Zoo has also been helping, by growing the rare plants that are being planted between locks 53 and 54 at Madden Fold.
The Rochdale Canal is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the varied plant populations and a Special Area of Conservation due to the presence of floating water plantain.
The project – part of a wider scheme that also takes in Birmingham’s 35-mile canal network – was made possible through a grant of £ 249,000 over three years from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and £127,000 donated from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Richard Hewitt, team manager of horticulture and botany at Chester Zoo, said: “Most people associate Chester Zoo with the conservation of rare and endangered animal species from all over the world, but we are also working to protect our very own native species here in the UK – including these very rare aquatic plants.”