Here is a year of pictures of the terrain, flora and fauna of the Wendover Canal, month by month. Most were taken by Steve Bonser. January 2022: There is always something to see along the towpath and restoration work site, whether on a dull damp and grey afternoon or a crisp frosty morning. Numerous robins accompany the volunteers when the excavators and dumpers are moving earth, and on recent walks, ducks, bluetits and pigeons were observed.
December 2021: December brings in the meteorological winter and the shorter daylight hours for walks along the towpath. Ice on the re-watered section between bridges 4 and 4a adds another dimension to the view. There are now very few leaves to be seen remaining on the trees and bushes, and only the ivy has a green canopy. Most plants on the banks have now died back and are dropping to the ground.
November 2021: With the cooler temperatures this month, it’s time again to wear a coat and durable shoes. The autumn colours of red, yellow and gold are evident. The bushes and trees are looking wind-swept with fewer leaves, with the sound of dry crunching leaves under foot. (Sorry for the temporary netting in some of the pictures, this is the section we are currently restoring.)
October 2021: With the Pocket Park (between Bridge 4 and Whitehouses) now open, people are exploring and making use of the installations. With shorter days and the sun getting lower in the sky, the leaves are starting to change colour with some plants dying off. Remaining berries on the bushes are becoming discoloured and shrivelled.
September 2021: An abundance of hedgerow berries and fruits can be seen along the towpath. Rose hips, sloes, and elderberries are spread amongst the old mans beard. Crab apples and plums along with red berries and the sweet tasting blackberries are now ready for picking.
August 2021: Harvest is now underway. Blackberries, sloes and elderberries are forming well on the bramble, blackthorn and elder trees. Foxgloves and old man’s beard are in flower. The bees, butterflies and moths are clear to see, attracted to the many wild flowers along the towpath.
July 2021: Heather Green has kindly agreed to us using some pictures from her Twitter feed. These 3 were taken on the Wendover Canal, as were some of her others, head to @HeatherGreen15 to see lots more. They show a Little Grebe and chick, Great White Egret and mandarin ducks, and Egret and Swan family.
July 2021: Now beyond midsummer, the bees, butterflies and dragonflies are busy being attracted by the thistle flower and clover petals amongst the wealth of wild flowers on view along the canal. Cowslips and another mystery plant are in bloom. Can you help identify? Suggestions so far are Knapweed, or Common Comfrey.
June 2021: Walking along the towpath with dry conditions in warm bright sunshine is now delightful. The tall standing Cow Parsley is in abundance along with Speedwell, Dandelions and other wild flowers. One plant that our photographer Steve Bonser didn’t recognise with a purple flower was attracting Orange-tip butterflies. Anyone who knows this plant then please let us know.
May 2021: There are first signs of some Bluebells near to bridge 4. Recent frosts, gales and heavy rain have stripped the blossom from the trees and bushes which are now in green leaf. Most of the trees planted last year are looking healthy with new growth and the last of the daffodils around the Whitehouses park are in flower. The grass, nettles and dock leaves are growing fast and getting tall.
April 2021: Walking along the towpath it is evident that everything is changing in colour and appearance. Buds on bushes and trees are bursting showing the blossom and new growth, the ferns and stinging nettles are starting to grow too. Even the sheep are enjoying the new grass!
March 2021: We are seeing bulbs flowering and blossom in the hedgerows. Lambs are starting to appear in the surrounding fields, which are starting to green up.
February 2021: The recent cold weather has not prevented the Snowdrops and Daffodils from showing their winter growth. Here are Snowdrops in crisp and frosty conditions by Bridge 4, and Daffodils almost ready to bloom alongside the footpath near to Bridge 4a.