Grantham Canal (Long Clawson to Harby)

Wildlife Highlights

The Canal comprises sections of dense reedbeds (Phragmites) whilst Bulrush, Yellow Iris and Branched Bur-reed are also widespread, together with Lesser Water Parsnip and Flowering Rush along the more open-water stretches. The Canal banks are covered in Meadowsweet and Willowherb whilst the hedges along the towpath are predominantly Hawthorn and Blackthorn. The main trees flanking the canal and towpath include Ash, Weeping and White Willow, Osier, Sycamore, Alder, Pendunculate (English) Oak. Elder and Wych Elm

Some sections are well stocked with fish, with Pike often seen.

In addition to the resident breeding waterbirds (Mute Swan, Mallard, Moorhen and Coot), in summer there are good populations of warblers, the commonest include Reed, Sedge and Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. Swallows, House Martins and Swifts are regularly seen along the Canal in the summer months. Kestrels and Buzzards are  frequent, and Kingfisher and Grey Heron occur, but are easily flushed when disturbed. In winter our resident thrushes are augmented by large, highly mobile, flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing, and in adjacent ploughed fields flocks of Lesser Black-backed Gull and Black-headed Gull are often present.

The common species of butterflies in the East Midlands are all well represented with flight periods beyween March to October. Eighteeen species of dragonfly and damselfly have been recorded along this stretch including the Hairy Dragonfly and Variable Damselfly, both are close to the limit of their range that lies mainly in SE England. Sightings of Emerald Damselfly and Banded Demoiselle are now rare.

Click on the Species List tab at the top of the page to see a complete list of species recorded in NatureSpot.

Wild places

Total species seen at this site: 345


This western part of the Grantham Canal in Leics stretches 2.5 miles from the county boundary at the River Smite aqueduct north of Long Clawson, eastwards past Hose, to Harby. The Grantham Canal was built to supply coal to Grantham and runs from the River Trent in Nottingham for 33 miles to Grantham. The Canal was opened in 1797 and closed to traffic in 1929. After several decades of public ownership the canal management passed from British Waterways to the newly formed Canal and River Trust in 2012.

Latest records

Getting There

This section of the Canal is best reached by A46 or A606. The Canal can then be accessed from the minor roads in the area between Long Clawson and Harby. The towpath runs along the northern bank of the Canal and is surfaced between Hose and Harby and west of Long Clawson Bridge [SK721298]. There is a bespoke car park at Hose Bridge [SK732298] and parking on the road verge near Long Clawson Bridge, alternatively park in Harby.

Managed By
Canal and River Trust (since 2012)

Group Common Name Latin Name Last Seen
Algae, Bacteria, VirusMossy Willow Catkin GallCauser unknown (Mossy Willow Gall)25/09/2016
AmphibiansCommon ToadBufo bufo22/07/2016
AmphibiansSmooth NewtLissotriton vulgaris31/10/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsHoney BeeApis mellifera22/05/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsGarden BumblebeeBombus hortorum07/06/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsTree BumblebeeBombus hypnorum18/04/2014
Bees, Wasps, AntsCommon Carder BumblebeeBombus pascuorum18/04/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsEarly BumblebeeBombus pratorum07/06/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsBuff-tailed BumblebeeBombus terrestris24/06/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsVestal Cuckoo BumblebeeBombus vestalis24/06/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsSmooth Pea Gall WaspDiplolepis eglanteriae/nervosa01/09/2013
Bees, Wasps, AntsSputnik Gall WaspDiplolepis nervosa01/09/2013
Bees, Wasps, AntsBedeguar Gall WaspDiplolepis rosae09/10/2016
Beetles2 Spot LadybirdAdalia bipunctata04/05/2014
BeetlesFigwort WeevilCionus scrophulariae14/07/2016
Beetles7 Spot LadybirdCoccinella septempunctata25/05/2011
BeetlesGreen Dock BeetleGastrophysa viridula11/07/2013
BeetlesGrammoptera ruficornis06/06/2014
BeetlesStrawberry Seed BeetleHarpalus rufipes21/05/2015
BeetlesOphonus rufibarbis22/05/2017
BeetlesPoecilus cupreus23/05/2017
Beetles22 Spot LadybirdPsyllobora vigintiduopunctata02/09/2016
BeetlesCardinal BeetlePyrochroa serraticornis04/05/2014
BeetlesCommon Red Soldier BeetleRhagonycha fulva22/07/2016
BirdsSparrowhawkAccipiter nisus18/04/2017
BirdsSedge WarblerAcrocephalus schoenobaenus01/08/2016
BirdsReed WarblerAcrocephalus scirpaceus12/05/2017
BirdsLong-tailed TitAegithalos caudatus10/01/2017
BirdsSkylarkAlauda arvensis06/06/2016
BirdsKingfisherAlcedo atthis05/10/2008