Grantham Canal (Redmile to Muston)
This section of the Canal is best reached by A46-A52, or the A606. The Canal can then be accessed from the minor roads in the area around Redmile and Muston. The towpath runs along the northern bank and is surfaced around Muston. There is parking at Muston Bridge [SK833368], just within Lincs, on the verge at Easthorpe Bridge [SK811368], and in Redmile.
Total species seen at this site: 304
Forming the eastern section of the Grantham Canal in Leics this site stretches nearly 4 miles from Redmile eastwards to the county boundary south of Muston. The Canal was built to supply coal to Grantham and runs from the River Trent in Nottingham for 33 miles to Grantham. It opened in 1797 and closed to traffic in 1929. After several decades of public ownership the management of the Canal passed from British Waterways to the newly formed Canal and River Trust in 2012. The scenery of this section is dominated by views of the forested ridge to the south running from Stathern eastwards to Belvoir Castle.
The Canal comprises sections of dense reedbeds (Phragmites), whilst Bulrush, Yellow Iris and Branched Bur-reed are also widespread together with Lesser Water Parsnip and Flowering Rush in the more open-water stretches. The banks are covered in Meadowsweet and Willowherb whilst the hedges along the towpath are predominantly of Hawthorn and Blackthorn. The main trees flanking the Canal and towpath include Ash, Weeping, White and Grey Willow, Sycamore, Alder, Pendunculate (English) Oak and Elder.
Some sections are well stocked with fish and the stretch near Muston the canal is fished by the Bottesford and District AA. Pike are often seen. Amongst the aquatic mollusca, Swan Mussel occurs around Muston, and Great Pond Snails are found throughout.
In addition to the resident breeding waterbirds (Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Mallard, Moorhen and Coot) in summer there are good populations of warblers, the commonest include Reed, Sedge and Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. Swallows, House Martins and Swifts are regularly seen along the canal in the summer months. Kestrels, Buzzards and Red Kites are common, Kingfisher and Grey Heron also visit the Canal but are easily flushed when disturbed. In winter months our resident thrushes are augmented by large highly mobile flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing and the adjacent ploughed fields often hold flocks of Lesser Black-backed Gull and Black-headed Gull.
The common species of butterflies in the East Midlands are all well represented along the Canal with flight periods usually ranging between March and October. Between April to November 19 species of dragonfly and damselfly have been recorded along this section including the Hairy Dragonfly and Variable Damselfly, both close to the limit of their range that lies mainly in SE England. The latest addition is the Small Red-eyed Damselfly, rapidly expanding its range northwards and now recorded along this stretch, after records in recent years from the adjacent part of the Canal around Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire.
The Species List tab at the top of the page gives a complete listing of species recorded in NatureSpot for this stretch of the Canal
In recent years the fields along the northern side of the Canal east of Longore Bridge (no.58) [SK825365] have formed part of the Muston Meadows National Nature Reserve famed for its orchids and wildflowers. As of July 2016 Natural England has declassified much of this reserve leaving just two fields, not bordering the canal, under their on-going management.
|Common Name||Latin Name||Date Recorded||Recorded By|
|Skullcap||Scutellaria galericulata||02/09/2019||steven lewis|
|Amphibious Bistort||Persicaria amphibia||02/09/2019||steven lewis|
|Black Spleenwort||Asplenium adiantum-nigrum||02/09/2019||steven lewis|
|Orange Tip||Anthocharis cardamines||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Peacock||Aglais io||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Small Tortoiseshell||Aglais urticae||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Speckled Wood||Pararge aegeria||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Small Copper||Lycaena phlaeas||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Hairy Dragonfly||Brachytron pratense||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Four-spotted Chaser||Libellula quadrimaculata||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Variable Damselfly||Coenagrion pulchellum||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Large Red Damselfly||Pyrrhosoma nymphula||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Whitethroat||Sylvia communis||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Blackcap||Sylvia atricapilla||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|
|Skylark||Alauda arvensis||20/05/2019||Steve Mathers|