Ashby Canal, Hinckley

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

    Getting There

    In Hinckley, access is from Dodwells Road where the canal then runs to the county boundary at the A5.

    Managed By
    Canal and River Trust
    Wild places

    Total species seen at this site: 39


    This section runs through Hinckley to the county boundary.

    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
    Further Information

    Group Common name Latin name Last seen
    BirdsMute SwanCygnus olor18/07/2017
    BirdsLittle EgretEgretta garzetta28/01/2018
    BirdsMoorhenGallinula chloropus18/07/2017
    Craneflies, Gnats & MidgesDasineura pustulans27/08/2020
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesWhite-legged DamselflyPlatycnemis pennipes24/06/2017
    Ferns & HorsetailsWall-rueAsplenium ruta-muraria27/08/2020
    Ferns & HorsetailsHart's-tongueAsplenium scolopendrium27/08/2020
    Ferns & HorsetailsMaidenhair SpleenwortAsplenium trichomanes27/08/2020
    Ferns & HorsetailsMale-fernDryopteris filix-mas27/08/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesFalse Fox-sedgeCarex otrubae27/08/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesGreater Tussock-sedgeCarex paniculata27/08/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesHop SedgeCarex pseudocyperus27/08/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesGalingaleCyperus longus27/08/2020
    Mites, Ticks & PseudoscorpionsAceria macrochela27/08/2020
    MothsYellow ShellCamptogramma bilineata20/06/2018
    MothsCinnabarTyria jacobaeae18/07/2017
    Slugs & SnailsSwan MusselAnodonta cygnea27/08/2020
    Slugs & SnailsZebra MusselDreissena polymorpha27/08/2020
    Slugs & SnailsEuropean fingernail clamSphaerium corneum27/08/2020
    Slugs & SnailsPainter's MusselUnio pictorum27/08/2020
    Slugs & SnailsRiver SnailViviparus viviparus27/08/2020
    Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersOsierSalix viminalis27/08/2020
    WildflowersFat-henChenopodium album18/07/2017
    WildflowersMonkeyflowerErythranthe guttata20/06/2018
    WildflowersWood AvensGeum urbanum27/08/2020
    WildflowersBristly OxtongueHelminthotheca echioides18/07/2017
    WildflowersOrange BalsamImpatiens capensis18/07/2017
    WildflowersOxeye DaisyLeucanthemum vulgare27/08/2020
    WildflowersGypsywortLycopus europaeus18/07/2017
    WildflowersPurple-loosestrifeLythrum salicaria18/07/2017
    WildflowersWater MintMentha aquatica03/08/2017
    WildflowersWater Forget-me-notMyosotis scorpioides27/08/2020
    WildflowersRedshankPersicaria maculosa18/07/2017
    WildflowersGreater Burnet-saxifragePimpinella major27/08/2020
    WildflowersSilverweedPotentilla anserina18/07/2017
    WildflowersCelery-leaved ButtercupRanunculus sceleratus27/08/2020
    WildflowersSkullcapScutellaria galericulata18/07/2017
    WildflowersBittersweetSolanum dulcamara27/08/2020
    WildflowersBranched Bur-reedSparganium erectum20/06/2018