This week we paid a visit to Marple Aqueduct, to take a look at the area immediately surrounding the structure - the towpaths, steps and verges - and to plan the work we will need to do over the winter, spring and summer. There were some beautiful autumn views waiting for us, which made up for the chilly weather!
At this time of year, the leaves are falling and the Himalayan balsam (an invasive species which needs regular management over the summer) has died off. We found lots of bramble on the verges beneath the aqueduct, which we plan to clear over the winter. All kinds of weird and wonderful fungi are growing on the tree stumps and branches on the woodland floor (remember peeps, don't eat the fungi you find!), and we saw deer tracks heading off from the steps into the trees.
We are thinking about possibilities for new plants on the grass verges along the canal towpath, and leading down the steps to the bottom of the aqueduct. Bulbs or wildflowers? And which wildflowers? Our ecologist, Tom, has sent us a list of wildflower ideas. We'd really like to make that decision with you - if you're interested in this, contact Vicky (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There was plenty of birdsong going on, and we spotted a buzzard circling just a little above the aqueduct. The benches there are a great place to sit and nature-spot! Keep your eye on our blog for news of nature walks in this area, where you can learn more about the wood and the plants, animals and birds who live in it.