Ducks and ducklings can appear in the most unlikely places, such as in the middle of a busy street walking single-file or nesting under balconies or in the middle of ball fields. They usually stay near water bodies such as ponds.
England and Wales has more than 2,000 miles inland waterways, along which run narrow towpaths that are barely wide enough for cyclists and pedestrians. And then, there are ducks. The charity organization Canal & River Trust who is responsible for maintaining these waterways have installed temporary "Duck Lanes" along the waterways in London, Birmingham and Manchester. The move is part of the "Share the space, drop your pace" campaign that encourages cyclists and pedestrians to be more considerate of surrounding wildlife.
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, explains: “For many people our towpaths are among their most precious green spaces, antidotes to the pace and stress of the modern world and places to relax and unwind. They are ‘super slow ways’, providing a slice of peace and calm through the centres of our busiest cities.
“Today they are more popular than ever, with more investment in improvements and better signage, but with that success there are also problems, which is why we are calling on visitors to help make our canals preserves for old fashioned good manners! We can all help by slowing down and remembering we are all there to enjoy the space.”
The Trust’s towpath code ‘Better Towpaths for Everyone’ was produced after consultation with more than 2,000 towpath visitors and interest groups. The top three issues raised were the need for improvements to the towpaths, better signage and better behaviour between visitors.
Last year, the Trust secured more than £8m of funding to improve over 30 miles of its towpaths, and it is planning a further £10m investment in the next 12 months.