Doors Open Days

Scottish Waterways Trust was pleased to offer some canalside activities as part of Edinburgh’s annual Doors Open Days events on 24th and 25th September, with 23 people joining our Cultural Heritage Officer Gemma on a tour of the Union Canal around the Fountainbridge area of the city

Changing Seasons

Our series of wildflower and bumblebee surveys is now drawing to a close, and the bumblebees are proving trickier to spot as they prepare for winter. Highly sensitive to changes in the atmospheric temperature, bumblebees need warmth to stay active, and so we usually see a decline in numbers at this time of year. There are still a good few of the wee critters around, but they’ll keep a low profile, preferring to stay warm and dry. If you want to help the bumblebees during the autumn, don’t mow your lawn or cut back your vegetation for winter just yet! Bumblebee queens depend on late-flowering species to sustain them during their winter hibernation. And the common buff-tailed bumblebee actually stays active during autumn and winter, and also needs food sources such as ivy, which flowers during September to November, and the ivy berries from December to February help sustain overwintering birds too.

Join us on our last bumblebee survey of the season on Sunday 16 October (13:00-15:30), meeting at the Water of Leith Conservation Trust on Lanark Road In the meantime, for more information on the winter habits of bumblebees, have a look at the following links:

Our Edinburgh wildflower survey group will also meet once more – on Saturday 15 October (10:30-13:00) at the Water of Leith Conservation Trust to complete its 2016 season. Come and join us! On our last outing, we surveyed two plots – one on the waterside, and the other on the hedgerow side of the canal towpath – near the Prince Charlie Aqueduct at Slateford. We positively identified no fewer than 23 species in each plot, discounting grasses, mosses and ferns, which we are not including in our survey. No rarities, but it’s fascinating to see how the vegetation in our survey plots changes with the seasons. And it gives plenty of scope for some additional activities – sampling hedgerow berries and pondering on their medicinal and nutritional properties, and their history. It’s a bumper year for the Hawthorn berries (Crataegus monogyna)! For more information and pictures of Hawthorn, check out the Woodland Trust’s pages here: And for hedgerow recipes and wild plant tips, visit