Ashby Canal, Bosworth Rd to Congerstone Lane

    Selected Wild Place / Other Wild Places / Public Rights of Way / VC55 boundary

    Getting There

    At the western end access is from Bosworth Road, east of Congerton. At the eastern end, access is from Congerstone Lane.

    Managed By
    Canal and River Trust
    Wild places

    Total species seen at this site: 21


    This section runs through an agricultural landscape south-west of Congerstone.

    The Ashby Canal is 31 miles long and connects the former mining area of Moira to the Coventry Canal. It opened in 1804 and serviced the collieries but over many years the section north of Snarestone was affected by mining subsidence and was eventually closed to navigation. A restoration programme has recently led to a part reopening but work continues. As some of the original canal had been filled in and built over a new section is being constructed around Measham.

    The stretch between Carlton Bridge, north of Market Bosworth, and Turnover Bridge, north of Snarestone is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest, designated in 1989 for its diverse aquatic flora and invertebrates, and the submerged plants in particular.

    Wildlife Highlights

    The flora of the canal was formerly rich, characterised by the occurrence in quantity on its margins of species such as Common Fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica, Purple-loosestrife Lythrum salicaria, Water Mint Mentha aquatica, Large Bitter-cress Cardamine amara and Blunt-flowered Rush Juncus subnodulosus. At least nine  Potamogeton species, including the nationally scarce Grass-wrack Pondweed P. compressus, have been recorded in the water, while there are remarkable old records of Floating Water-plantain Luronium natans and Greater Bladderwort Utricularia vulgarisOther aquatic plants include Mare's tail, Spiked Water-milfoil and Perfoliate Pondweed. Nine species of dragonfly have been recorded as have Water Shrews, Water Voles and the nationally rare water beetle Haliplus mucronatus.

    The canal follows a contour line and is lockless. As a result there are no currents and combined with the absence of boat traffic perhaps accounted for the vast quantities of free-floating aquatics such as Ivy-leaved Duckweed Lemna trisulca. Recent surveys indicate a dramatic deterioration in the quality of the canal’s aquatic flora and the restoration work to increase boat traffic give little hope of a recovery, other than in possible off-line refuges.

    • Canal
    • Site of Special Scientific Interest

    Group Common name Latin name Last seen
    BeetlesCommon Red Soldier BeetleRhagonycha fulva21/07/2012
    BirdsGoldfinchCarduelis carduelis06/07/2013
    ButterfliesPeacockAglais io17/07/2020
    ButterfliesCommaPolygonia c-album17/07/2020
    ButterfliesGatekeeperPyronia tithonus24/07/2012
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesBanded DemoiselleCalopteryx splendens24/07/2012
    FliesPhytomyza angelicae17/07/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesFalse Fox-sedgeCarex otrubae17/07/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesHop SedgeCarex pseudocyperus17/07/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesBlunt-flowered RushJuncus subnodulosus17/07/2020
    insect - beetle (Coleoptera)Donacia17/07/2020
    WildflowersWild AngelicaAngelica sylvestris17/07/2020
    WildflowersFlowering-rushButomus umbellatus17/07/2020
    WildflowersField BindweedConvolvulus arvensis17/07/2020
    WildflowersMeadowsweetFilipendula ulmaria17/07/2020
    WildflowersGypsywortLycopus europaeus17/07/2020
    WildflowersPurple-loosestrifeLythrum salicaria17/07/2020
    WildflowersWater MintMentha aquatica17/07/2020
    WildflowersSilverweedPotentilla anserina17/07/2020
    WildflowersUnbranched Bur-reedSparganium emersum17/07/2020
    WildflowersBranched Bur-reedSparganium erectum17/07/2020