Damsels and dragons along the River Wey

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The best place to see dragonflies along the Wey Navigation is between Send Church and Broadoaks bridges on Triggs length, on a warm, still afternoon.

The best months for seeing dragonflies are during the months of July, August and September. To see the damselflies, just walk along the towpath in summer, and you can hardly miss them.

Why not download our damselfly survey and take it with you the next time you are walking along the Wey Navigation?

Know your Odonata

Our incredibly beautiful native dragonflies and damselflies belong to a major group of insects known by the scientific name Odonata.

They are usually seen near lakes, ponds, rivers, canals and streams where most species lay their eggs and their larvae develop. Odonata have been on the earth for over 250 million years.

However, the changes that have taken place in the countryside over the last 40 years have led to dramatic decreases in the dragonfly population throughout the country.

This makes protecting them and their habitat very important. Not only are these insects beautiful to look at, they also provide food for our other native species.

They can also used as an indicator to the general quality of our environment and of the diversity of other species.

Beautiful Demoiselles

During early summer, it may look like the only flying insect on the River Wey is the damselfly.

There are hordes of them - beautiful Demoiselles, Banded Demoiselles, Large Red and Common Blue damselflies fly in abundance along the towpath at the river's edge.

Then from August onwards, the curtain opens on their larger cousins, the dragonflies. Emperors, Hawkers and Chasers carry on the drama over the calm water of the Wey Navigation. 

On a warm, sunny summer's day, there's little to beat the thrill of seeing the aerobatic, colourful dragonflies performing above the reeds at the water's edge.

Dragonfly or Damselfly?

One of the easiest ways to tell the two species apart is to wait for them to land. If they fold their wings closed along their abdomens they are damselflies. If they leave their wings out flat and open, they are dragonflies.

For more information, have a look here.