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.

    Managed By
    Canal & River Trust
    Wild places

    Total species seen at this site: 61

    Description

    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.

    Status

    Site of Special Scientific Interest

    Further Information

    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 platyrhynchos18/09/2015
    BirdsCanada GooseBranta canadensis30/07/2020
    BirdsCarrion CrowCorvus corone12/01/2017
    BirdsJackdawCorvus monedula11/01/2018
    BirdsMute SwanCygnus olor12/01/2017
    BirdsRobinErithacus rubecula17/03/2016
    BirdsKestrelFalco tinnunculus17/03/2016
    BirdsChaffinchFringilla coelebs17/03/2016
    BirdsMoorhenGallinula chloropus12/08/2012
    BirdsGreat TitParus major17/03/2016
    BirdsMagpiePica pica17/03/2016
    BirdsFieldfareTurdus pilaris12/01/2017
    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
    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
    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