Bike lanes are pretty common in both the UK and US, but duck lanes? The Canal & River Trust, a charitable organization that maintains over 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, announced recently that it has set up a “duck lane” between the towns of Elland and Brookfoot in West Yorkshire. As the name suggests, the lanes are meant exclusively for the use of ducks and other wildlife that wander across them. According to Jon Horsfall, a waterway manager with the organization, the duck lanes are more to make a point than for the benefit of the waterfowl.
“It just wouldn’t be possible to paint lanes on the towpath for all our different visitors – cyclists, walkers, runners, anglers, boaters—so we thought the ducks could have one instead,” Horsfall told the Halifax Courier. “We can all help by slowing down and remembering we are all there to enjoy the space… and watch out for ducks.”
The duck lanes are part of the organization’s “Drop Your Pace” campaign, which encourages visitors on towpaths across England and Wales to walk at a slower pace. Traditional towpaths are roads on the bank of a river or canal, originally created during the Industrial Revolution for workers to tow boats through a waterway. Today these roads are mostly obsolete and have been converted to multi-use trails. Canals & River Trust is urging visitors to remember that they share the trail with wildlife and lower their pace.
“For many people our towpaths are among their most precious green spaces, antidotes to the pace and stress of the modern world and places to relax and unwind,” Canal & River Trust CEO Richard Perry said in a press release. “They are ‘super slow ways’, providing a slice of peace and calm through the centres of our busiest cities.”
You can see an interview with towpath ranger Dick Vincent below: