Bring­ing na­ture back to Guils­field

Canal Boat - - News -

Float­ing wa­ter plan­tain and other rare aquatic plants should soon be thriv­ing again on a Mont­gomery Canal arm near Welsh­pool, thanks to the Canal & River Trust char­ity. Over the win­ter, vol­un­teers and con­trac­tors have worked along­side Trust ecol­o­gists to clear away un­wanted veg­e­ta­tion and silt from the Guils­field Arm, which runs for two and a quar­ter miles (3.6km) from Burgedin to­wards the vil­lage of Guils­field in Powys.

The Guils­field Arm is now cut off from the canal main­line by a miss­ing bridge but is be­ing de­vel­oped as a spe­cial place for na­ture, pro­vid­ing a safe, undis­turbed home for some of the many aquatic plants which flour­ish on the Mont­gomery Canal. This project is one of ten key na­ture sites across the Canal & River Trust’s 2000 mile net­work which has re­ceived ex­tra help thanks to the sup­port of play­ers of Peo­ple’s Post­code Lottery.

Sara Hill, Canal & River Trust ecol­o­gist, said: “The vol­un­teers and con­trac­tors have done an amaz­ing job on the Guils­field Arm. They had to con­tend with some hor­ren­dous weather just be­fore Christ­mas, but they re­ally got stuck in, dug out the canal chan­nel and cut back over­grown trees from the bank. “This has had the ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect of re­duc­ing shad­ing and im­prov­ing wa­ter qual­ity, which then in turn al­lows aquatic plants and an­i­mals, like wa­ter voles and shrews, to flour­ish. The project is all about en­cour­ag­ing bio­di­ver­sity and cre­at­ing healthy wa­ter­ways.”

The vol­un­teers, who meet ev­ery Fri­day, un­der­take a range of canal main­te­nance tasks in­clud­ing hedge-lay­ing, lock gate paint­ing and tow­path re­pairs but will be keep­ing a keen eye on the wa­ter to en­joy the brief flow­er­ing of the wa­ter plan­tain over sum­mer. Any­one who would like to join them should con­tact Canal & River Trust vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor Ja­son Watts. Email Ja­son.watts@ canal­rivertrust.org.uk.

Dig­ging out the chan­nel

Vol­un­teers at work

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