Ashby Canal, Shackerstone

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

    Getting There

    Accessed from Congerstone Lane in the north of the village or from Barton Lane just south of Shackerstone.

    • Canal
    • Site of Special Scientific Interest
    Managed By
    Canal and River Trust
    Wild places

    Total species seen at this site: 38


    This section runs through the village of Shackerstone.

    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.


    The records and images below may include those from adjacent sites if the grid reference submitted with these records overlaps the boundary of this Wild Place.

    Latest records
    Common Name Latin Name Date Recorded Recorded By
    Rusty-back FernCeterach officinarum11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Water FigwortScrophularia auriculata11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Wall-rueAsplenium ruta-muraria11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    BulrushTypha latifolia11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Blunt-flowered RushJuncus subnodulosus11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Branched Bur-reedSparganium erectum11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Yellow Water-lilyNuphar lutea11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Banded DemoiselleCalopteryx splendens11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Common FleabanePulicaria dysenterica11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Dasineura urticae11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    False Fox-sedgeCarex otrubae11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Great WillowherbEpilobium hirsutum11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Greater Tussock-sedgeCarex paniculata11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    Heterotoma planicornis11/07/2020Melinda Bell
    HoneysuckleLonicera periclymenum11/07/2020Melinda Bell

    Group Common name Latin name Last seen
    FliesAcidia cognata19/10/2019
    Bees, Wasps, AntsKnopper Oak Gall WaspAndricus quercuscalicis13/08/2018
    Ferns & HorsetailsWall-rueAsplenium ruta-muraria11/07/2020
    MothsSilver YAutographa gamma11/07/2020
    WildflowersBlack HorehoundBallota nigra27/06/2020
    WildflowersLesser Water-parsnipBerula erecta11/07/2020
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesBanded DemoiselleCalopteryx splendens11/07/2020
    MothsHorse-chestnut Leaf MinerCameraria ohridella16/09/2015
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesFalse Fox-sedgeCarex otrubae11/07/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesGreater Tussock-sedgeCarex paniculata11/07/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesHop SedgeCarex pseudocyperus11/07/2020
    Ferns & HorsetailsRusty-back FernCeterach officinarum11/07/2020
    BirdsBlack-headed GullChroicocephalus ridibundus06/07/2013
    WildflowersSpear ThistleCirsium vulgare11/07/2020
    Craneflies, Gnats & MidgesDasineura ulmaria13/08/2018
    Craneflies, Gnats & MidgesDasineura urticae11/07/2020
    MothsBent-barred PigmyEctoedemia angulifasciella19/10/2019
    WildflowersGreat WillowherbEpilobium hirsutum11/07/2020
    WildflowersMeadowsweetFilipendula ulmaria11/07/2020
    BugsHeterotoma planicornis11/07/2020
    WildflowersOrange BalsamImpatiens capensis27/06/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesBlunt-flowered RushJuncus subnodulosus11/07/2020
    WildflowersWhite Dead-nettleLamium album11/07/2020
    Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersHoneysuckleLonicera periclymenum11/07/2020
    WildflowersGypsywortLycopus europaeus11/07/2020
    WildflowersPurple-loosestrifeLythrum salicaria11/07/2020
    WildflowersYellow Water-lilyNuphar lutea11/07/2020
    WildflowersButterburPetasites hybridus27/06/2020
    FliesPhytomyza tussilaginis19/10/2019
    WildflowersSilverweedPotentilla anserina11/07/2020
    WildflowersCommon FleabanePulicaria dysenterica11/07/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesCommon Club-rushSchoenoplectus lacustris11/07/2020
    WildflowersWater FigwortScrophularia auriculata11/07/2020
    WildflowersBranched Bur-reedSparganium erectum11/07/2020
    Slugs & SnailsAmber SnailSuccinea putris11/07/2020
    Grasses, Rushes & SedgesBulrushTypha latifolia11/07/2020
    BirdsLapwingVanellus vanellus06/07/2013
    WildflowersTufted VetchVicia cracca11/07/2020