Ashby Canal, Bosworth Battlefield

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

Getting There

This stretch of the canal runs from The Sutton Cheney Wharf (Wharf Lane), past Anbion Wood and the Bosworth Battlefield, to Shenton Lane.


Site of Special Scientific Interest

Managed By
Canal & River Trust
Further Information
Wild places

Total species seen at this site: 65


The canal was opened in 1804 with the purpose of servicing the Leicestershire coalfield, but by the 1830s its industrial use was in decline. Originally extending as far north as Moira, the canal suffered mining subsidence resulting in the draining, in 1944 and again in 1957 and 1966, of successive lengths of the northernmost 10 km (6 miles). Much of this stretch was subsequently filled with pulverized fuel ash. The canal then terminated just north of the Snarestone Tunnel at SK 346099, but is navigable from that point to the county boundary near Hinckley and beyond to Bedworth, where it joins the Coventry Canal.

The lowest point in the use of the Ashby Canal was probably in the early 1960s when, although still maintained, it had lost practically all of its commercial traffic. Since that time there has been a considerable expansion in the use by pleasure boats and this has resulted in active management to facilitate passage and to reduce the effects of bank erosion.

Recent surveys indicate a dramatic deterioration in the quality of the canal’s aquatic flora and plans to restore parts of the canal and to increase boat traffic give little hope of a recovery, other than in possible off-line refuges.


Wildlife Highlights

The canal follows a contour line and is lockless. As a result there are no currents, which perhaps accounts for the vast quantities of free-floating aquatics such as Ivy-leaved Duckweed Lemna trisulca. 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 vulgaris.

The Ashby Canal still held, in the 2010s, probably the largest remaining Water Vole population in Leicestershire.


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
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Common Name Latin Name Date Recorded Recorded By
Black BryonyDioscorea communis15/09/2021egaten
Rusty-back FernCeterach officinarum06/09/2021Melinda Bell
SnowberrySymphoricarpos albus06/09/2021Melinda Bell
Cauliflower Gall MiteAceria fraxinivora06/09/2021Melinda Bell
Bedeguar Gall WaspDiplolepis rosae06/09/2021Melinda Bell
YarrowAchillea millefolium06/09/2021Melinda Bell
FieldfareTurdus pilaris15/12/2020egaten
RedwingTurdus iliacus15/12/2020egaten
Greater Tussock-sedgeCarex paniculata30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Pendulous SedgeCarex pendula30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Wood AvensGeum urbanum30/07/2020Melinda Bell
SkullcapScutellaria galericulata30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Lords-and-LadiesArum maculatum30/07/2020Melinda Bell
CommaPolygonia c-album30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Water FigwortScrophularia auriculata30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Flowering-rushButomus umbellatus30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Purple-loosestrifeLythrum salicaria30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Canada GooseBranta canadensis30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Hop SedgeCarex pseudocyperus30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Blunt-flowered RushJuncus subnodulosus30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Yellow IrisIris pseudacorus30/07/2020Melinda Bell
HoneysuckleLonicera periclymenum30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Black BryonyDioscorea communis30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Green ShieldbugPalomena prasina30/07/2020Melinda Bell
SilverweedPotentilla anserina30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Great WillowherbEpilobium hirsutum30/07/2020Melinda Bell
GypsywortLycopus europaeus30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Amphibious BistortPersicaria amphibia30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Branched Bur-reedSparganium erectum30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Blue-tailed DamselflyIschnura elegans30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Water MintMentha aquatica30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Dingy FootmanEilema griseola30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Dasineura pustulans30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Dasineura ulmaria30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Meadowsweet Rust FungusTriphragmium ulmariae30/07/2020Melinda Bell
GatekeeperPyronia tithonus30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Leaf minePhytomyza lappae30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Zebra MusselDreissena polymorpha30/07/2020Melinda Bell
Hart's-tongueAsplenium scolopendrium21/07/2020Melinda Bell
Wall-rueAsplenium ruta-muraria21/07/2020Melinda Bell
Rusty-back FernCeterach officinarum21/07/2020Melinda Bell
Black SpleenwortAsplenium adiantum-nigrum21/07/2020Melinda Bell
Maidenhair SpleenwortAsplenium trichomanes21/07/2020Melinda Bell
Social Pear SawflyNeurotoma saltuum12/07/2020andrew johnson
BulrushTypha latifolia31/10/2019egaten
Horse-chestnutAesculus hippocastanum31/10/2019egaten
Dog-roseRosa canina31/10/2019egaten
Agromyza nana05/10/2019sue
Phytomyza fallaciosa05/10/2019sue
Phytomyza autumnalis05/10/2019sue

Group Common name Latin name Last seen
Bees, Wasps, AntsOak Marble Gall WaspAndricus kollari21/09/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsBedeguar Gall WaspDiplolepis rosae21/09/2017
BirdsRed-legged PartridgeAlectoris rufa17/03/2016
BirdsWigeonAnas penelope11/01/2018
BirdsMallardAnas platyrhynchos12/01/2017
BirdsCanada GooseBranta canadensis30/07/2020
BirdsCarrion CrowCorvus corone12/01/2017
BirdsJackdawCorvus monedula17/03/2016
BirdsMute SwanCygnus olor12/01/2017
BirdsRobinErithacus rubecula17/03/2016
BirdsKestrelFalco tinnunculus17/03/2016
BirdsChaffinchFringilla coelebs17/03/2016
BirdsMoorhenGallinula chloropus17/03/2016
BirdsGreat TitParus major17/03/2016
BirdsMagpiePica pica17/03/2016
BirdsRedwingTurdus iliacus15/12/2020
BirdsFieldfareTurdus pilaris15/12/2020
BugsGreen ShieldbugPalomena prasina30/07/2020
ButterfliesCommaPolygonia c-album30/07/2020
ButterfliesGatekeeperPyronia tithonus30/07/2020
Craneflies, Gnats & MidgesDasineura pustulans30/07/2020
Craneflies, Gnats & MidgesDasineura ulmaria30/07/2020
Dragonflies and DamselfliesBanded DemoiselleCalopteryx splendens12/08/2012
Dragonflies and DamselfliesBlue-tailed DamselflyIschnura elegans30/07/2020
Ferns & HorsetailsBlack SpleenwortAsplenium adiantum-nigrum21/07/2020
Ferns & HorsetailsWall-rueAsplenium ruta-muraria21/07/2020
Ferns & HorsetailsHart's-tongueAsplenium scolopendrium21/07/2020
Ferns & HorsetailsMaidenhair SpleenwortAsplenium trichomanes21/07/2020
Ferns & HorsetailsRusty-back FernCeterach officinarum21/07/2020
FliesAgromyza nana05/10/2019
FliesPhytomyza autumnalis05/10/2019
FliesPhytomyza fallaciosa05/10/2019
FliesLeaf minePhytomyza lappae30/07/2020
FliesPhytomyza leucanthemi05/10/2019
FungiMeadowsweet Rust FungusTriphragmium ulmariae30/07/2020
Grasses, Rushes & SedgesGreater Tussock-sedgeCarex paniculata30/07/2020
Grasses, Rushes & SedgesPendulous SedgeCarex pendula30/07/2020
Grasses, Rushes & SedgesHop SedgeCarex pseudocyperus30/07/2020
Grasses, Rushes & SedgesBlunt-flowered RushJuncus subnodulosus30/07/2020
Grasses, Rushes & SedgesReed Canary-grassPhalaris arundinacea27/06/2018
Grasses, Rushes & SedgesBulrushTypha latifolia31/10/2019
MammalsStoatMustela erminea30/12/2017
Mites, Ticks & PseudoscorpionsCauliflower Gall MiteAceria fraxinivora06/09/2021
MothsDingy FootmanEilema griseola30/07/2020
SawfliesSocial Pear SawflyNeurotoma saltuum12/07/2020
Slugs & SnailsZebra MusselDreissena polymorpha30/07/2020
Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersHorse-chestnutAesculus hippocastanum31/10/2019
Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersHoneysuckleLonicera periclymenum30/07/2020
Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersDog-roseRosa canina31/10/2019
Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersSnowberrySymphoricarpos albus06/09/2021
WildflowersYarrowAchillea millefolium06/09/2021
WildflowersLords-and-LadiesArum maculatum30/07/2020
WildflowersFlowering-rushButomus umbellatus30/07/2020
WildflowersBlack BryonyDioscorea communis30/07/2020
WildflowersGreat WillowherbEpilobium hirsutum30/07/2020
WildflowersWood AvensGeum urbanum30/07/2020
WildflowersYellow IrisIris pseudacorus30/07/2020
WildflowersGypsywortLycopus europaeus30/07/2020
WildflowersPurple-loosestrifeLythrum salicaria30/07/2020
WildflowersWater MintMentha aquatica30/07/2020
WildflowersAmphibious BistortPersicaria amphibia27/06/2018
WildflowersSilverweedPotentilla anserina30/07/2020
WildflowersWater FigwortScrophularia auriculata30/07/2020
WildflowersSkullcapScutellaria galericulata30/07/2020
WildflowersBranched Bur-reedSparganium erectum30/07/2020