With last year and the start of this year being such a difficult time for many, we are all desperately looking forward to the arrival of spring and brighter times ahead.  

As we have been unable to run adapted canal boat day trips and holidays to our disabled clients so far this year, we have been focusing on wellbeing and positive stories in our social media and website blogs.  

Photo credit

Often thought of as the time of year where we feel most positive, spring is linked with a more sunny outlook and, hopefully, we can now start to embrace this seasons positive, hopeful nature. 

Saturday March 20th is the Spring Equinox, which means it’s officially the start of spring! So what can you look forward to seeing along our riverbanks at this time of year? 

With increasing sunlight hours, earlier dawns and later sunsets, we can spend longer outdoors exploring our local waterways observing the nature all around us (adhering to lockdown rules of course!)

With longer days, the increasing sunlight triggers birds to sing and some to migrate northward along the path of the sun. Can you recognise any of our feathered friends from this bird song page from the RSPB? 

Gardening for wellbeing

Notice the daffodils poking up their heads and the blooming of crocus – are you getting out in your garden? There’s lots of evidence to show that gardens and plants are good for our physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Read more details about this and real life stories from the RHS here.

If you have a disability, and are looking for tips, check out the charity Thrive who provide a wealth of gardening information for people to start or continue gardening with a wide range of disabilities.

Members of Plants, Pots and Wellies in Harlow have been busy in their community garden keeping everything ticking over, so that when they can reopen, members can all continue creating a beautiful place to be in. As one of our valued customers, we hope they can open again soon as they are a much valued community initiative, created to provide horticultural therapy for both children and adults with additional needs.

We also look forward to being able to welcome back our friends from the Ashvale Horticulture Project at St Elizabeth’s Centre who keep the grounds around our base looking tip top. The St Elizabeth’s Centre are a national charity providing specialist care to children & adults of all ages with epilepsy and complex needs. Here they are on a day trip on-board one of our adapted canal boats. The trip was gifted by us to thank the team for all their hard work at our base:

Stunning Scenery and Wildlife  

Beautiful clear, crisp mornings and warmer weather give you the opportunity to explore the stunning scenery around your local waterways. 

If you love animals and there are fields near your canal, see if you can spot new-born lambs or baby ducklings floating by. There is a variety of birdlife along the water at this time of year too.

If your walk takes you along the bottom section of the River Stort, which experiences regular flooding, you can expect to see a wide range of waterbirds and waders on their spring migration. The river banks start to see an explosion of colour in the form of carpets of marsh marigolds, which cover wetter places, as well as ragged robin and ladies smock.

If heading along the River Lee Navigation, expect to see damselflies and dragonflies skipping and darting over the river. Make sure you explore the River Lee Country Park, 1,000-acre former industrial area reclaimed for nature, straddling the Hertfordshire-Essex border, just north of Waltham Abbey. Here you may hear the boom of a bittern, or discover a patch of rare orchids.  

Discover more along this stretch in our blog, Sites and Attractions Dobbs Weir to Hertford.

If you are unable to get out and about and have children to entertain, The Woodland Trust have put together a great blog entitled: Lockdown activities for kids: 6 ideas for spring.

Hopefully we can all start looking towards a brighter future as we begin emerging from the latest lockdown. We do hope we will see you all again soon and can start operating our accessible canal boat day trip and holidays for our disabled clients, care and residential homes and youth groups again!

We are happy to announce that our specially adapted canal boats will begin running again for day tripsshort-breaks and longer holidays from 21st June 2021* If you are looking for an accessible day tripshort break or longer holiday staycation to look forward to,  why not contact us to find out how we can help you with your very own adapted canal boat experience!

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