Found this creature while pond dipping. It was in my net but not sure if it is an aquatic creature or a land creature (caterpillar). The hairs/spikes are forked.
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Thanks for posting this observation, I wasn't at all sure what it was to start with, but thought it must be a fly of some sort and it it looked a bit like a cranefly based on the shape of the tail end. With a bit of google image searching I think I've tracked it down.
This cranefly looks similar to other small craneflies as an adult, but its larva is very unusual. It lives in water, usually among mosses. There is a detailed description of it from 1897, available via the Biodiversity Heritage Library:
I can't find a decent image of the adult, but there are parts of it (!) shown here:
and for further images of the larvae see:
Entomologist and biological recorder
I didn't have a clue what it was, but glad to hear it does live in the water because that's where it was put back.
Lat/Lng: 54.9, -4.5
OS grid ref: NX4168