Ashby Canal, Market Bosworth

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

    Getting There

    In the north access is via Congerston Lane and at the southern end access is from Tinsel Lane just south of Market Harborough.

    Managed By
    Canal and River Trust
    Wild places

    Total species seen at this site: 30


    This section of the Ashby Canal skirts around the western edge of Market Bosworth.

    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
    Bees, Wasps, AntsCommon WaspVespula vulgaris20/08/2018
    ButterfliesPeacockAglais io21/07/2020
    ButterfliesBrimstoneGonepteryx rhamni21/07/2020
    ButterfliesSpeckled WoodPararge aegeria16/09/2015
    Ferns & HorsetailsBlack SpleenwortAsplenium adiantum-nigrum21/07/2020
    Ferns & HorsetailsWall-rueAsplenium ruta-muraria21/07/2020
    Ferns & HorsetailsMaidenhair SpleenwortAsplenium trichomanes17/07/2020
    FungiRose RustPhragmidium mucronatum21/07/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesCommon Club-rushSchoenoplectus lacustris21/07/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesBulrushTypha latifolia17/07/2020
    MammalsWater VoleArvicola amphibius29/08/2015
    SpidersGarden SpiderAraneus diadematus20/08/2018
    Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersPedunculate OakQuercus robur21/07/2020
    WildflowersChicoryCichorium intybus21/07/2020
    WildflowersBlack BryonyDioscorea communis21/07/2020
    WildflowersGreat WillowherbEpilobium hirsutum20/08/2018
    WildflowersGiant HogweedHeracleum mantegazzianum17/07/2020
    WildflowersCommon Cat's-earHypochaeris radicata20/08/2018
    WildflowersOrange BalsamImpatiens capensis20/08/2018
    WildflowersWhite Dead-nettleLamium album17/07/2020
    WildflowersPurple-loosestrifeLythrum salicaria21/07/2020
    WildflowersButterburPetasites hybridus21/07/2020
    WildflowersWeldReseda luteola21/07/2020
    WildflowersWater DockRumex hydrolapathum17/07/2020
    WildflowersArrowheadSagittaria sagittifolia20/08/2018
    WildflowersSkullcapScutellaria galericulata21/07/2020
    WildflowersBittersweetSolanum dulcamara21/07/2020
    WildflowersMarsh WoundwortStachys palustris21/07/2020
    WildflowersCommon ValerianValeriana officinalis17/07/2020
    Woodlice, CrustaceansSignal CrayfishPacifastacus leniusculus21/07/2020