Its that time of year when I need to get fit again. So I set off on my bike for a ride on the Somerset Levels.
The Glastonbury Canal ran for 14 miles from Glastonbury to Highbridge. Today it is the main artery down the centre of the Avalon Marshes. It went out of business when a railway was built on its towpath. Today the railway line has also gone and is now a footpath and cycleway.
Through Shapwick Heath nature reserve it follows a dead straight line which takes forever to walk down. Much better by bike!
I saw a guy photographing these swans so I stopped, waited for him to finish, before moving in to take a few pictures. Annoyingly, he stood just a few years down stream and was in the background of all my pictures.
What he did not realise was that I was happy to wait 20 minutes for the swans to flap their wings. As soon as I got my shots he came back to carry on with his own pictures. It was only then that I realised how annoying I must have been to him.
Anyway, a bit of context aware fill in Photoshop and as if by magic he disappeared.
The light that afternoon was lovely and soft with light blue skies and a low winter sun. The new Tower Hide, in the picture below, was crowdfunded and has great views over the scrape. I still hope to use its high views to photograph the starling murmurations.
The canal at the western end of Shapwick Heath. Peat is still being extracted – of course this area is outside the nature reserve.
The canal footpath continues west alongside Canada Farm – but only on foot. Next to the canal on the Westhay Heath side of the canal is this tree. I call it the daffodil tree as the flowers grow around its base.
Canada Farm has a series of ponds and reedbeds. This picture was taken while waiting for the starlings to return to their roost next to the canal.
Sadly, a kink in the canal marks the end of the line. The footpath ends at a small bridge leaving you with these views across Catcott Heath. From here the canal becomes the South Drain.
Note: I seems that the footpath alongside the canal may be closed at times during the next few weeks as Natural England carry out works on Shapwick Heath.