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Tuesday, 1st July 2003, Page 1 of 2, West Yorkshire


We've had a day and a half of continuous rain and I can't wait any longer for it to clear up: I put on full waterproofs and set off via the towpath and the riverside to Wakefield.

The bullocks in the field by the lock are surrounded by an acre of shallow water. They're not stranded: they appear to have come to this corner by the canal and railway embankment just to explore and to check out the patch of thistles that is still showing above the sheet of water.

beer glassesAt the canal-side pub beer glasses on a picnic table, which must have been have left there on Sunday evening, the last time it was dry, are now filled with water to within a couple of inches of the top.

slugNot surprisingly waterbirds are the most conspicuous wildlife around today; waterbirds and the slugs and snails that are gliding through the grasses.

cormorantcomorantOn my walk I see five cormorants flying over the river. Two pairs of mute swans appear to have failed to raise cygnets but on Millfield Lagoons an adult sits on its large waterside nest with at least one grey downy youngster.

burnt out carmute swansUnder the motorway bridge I pass by the burnt-out wreck of a car. I wonder how long it will be before it is removed or thrown into the river. Not long: by the lagoon a hundred yards away a team is lifting a second abandoned car. next page

Richard Bell