Environment Wildlife The Future
Milton Keynes Council maintain the canal side in an environmentally friendly way. For example, the grass verge is not given its first cut until after the cow parsley and other flowers have bloomed in spring.
Wherever possible the reeds along side the canal are left although obviously compromises are made where safety is concerned for example, the reeds are cut back if there are holes in the banks where boat owners are likely to moor their boats.
The towpath hedge is as old as the canal. maintaining it can simply mean leaving it alone in certain areas, or where it has thinned out, planting larger shrubs or small trees.
In many places, the hedge requires relaying to rejuvenate it from ground level and often the council seek help from enthusiastic volunteers to help out. Wherever possible, standards are followed where new planting or maintenance of existing vegetation is undertaken. This ensures the preservation of the wildlife and that the canal remains interesting. More importantly, if hedges are laid properly, then the grow thicker. This in turn allows birds to nest in them and affords them greater protection from Magpies.
The canalside is home to a variety of grasses, shrubs, trees, flowers and fungi. Some of the more common vegetation found along the canal include; Crab apple trees, Hawthorn, Reeds, Sow, Sedges, Gipsywort, Irises, Skull cap, Cow Parsley and Buttercups.
The 'Ear Fungus' grows out of dead branches of deciduous trees, especially elder appearing in late autumn and winter. This example was found on a tree alongside the canal.
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