Recent heatwave turns Wigan canal green

A section of the canal near Henhurst Bridge, Wigan. Picture taken by Charles Graham
A section of the canal near Henhurst Bridge, Wigan. Picture taken by Charles Graham

Sections of Wigan’s usually dark-hued canal network have been looking more like bowling greens of late.

That’s because the recent heatwave has brought about the sudden flourishing of a plant known as duckweed.

It is the world’s smallest flowering plant, which multiplies rapidly in hot weather. It is not harmful to humans or animals and the Canal and River Trust today encouraged everyone to continue enjoying the big outdoors along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, although it has urged people with young children or dogs to take extra care when they see the weed in case they mistake it for grass.

A trust spokeswoman said: “We’re monitoring the situation and will look to get specialist machinery in to remove it if the problem continues and get worse.”

The weed is not toxic and lots of ducks, geese and some fish like to eat it.

In fact, it could become a super-food craze of the future, with current research investigating duckweed as a new source of protein for humans!

Pictured here is a section of the canal near Henhurst Bridge, Wigan.