Grantham Canal (Redmile to Muston)

    Getting There

    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.

    Managed By
    Canal and River Trust (since 2012)
    Wild places

    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.

    Wildlife Highlights

    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

    Latest News

    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.


    Group Common name Latin name Last seen
    ButterfliesOrange TipAnthocharis cardamines03/06/2010
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesHairy DragonflyBrachytron pratense03/06/2010
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesFour-spotted ChaserLibellula quadrimaculata23/06/2010
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesMigrant HawkerAeshna mixta21/09/2010
    BeetlesDonacia vulgaris25/05/2011
    ButterfliesSmall WhitePieris rapae25/05/2011
    ButterfliesSmall SkipperThymelicus sylvestris25/05/2011
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesVariable DamselflyCoenagrion pulchellum25/05/2011
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesRed-eyed DamselflyErythromma najas25/05/2011
    MothsLatticed HeathChiasmia clathrata25/05/2011
    Beetles7 Spot LadybirdCoccinella septempunctata01/06/2011
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesAzure DamselflyCoenagrion puella01/06/2011
    HoverfliesParhelophilus versicolor01/06/2011
    MothsChimney SweeperOdezia atrata01/06/2011
    MothsWhite ErmineSpilosoma lubricipeda01/06/2011
    MothsYellow ShellCamptogramma bilineata12/07/2011
    MothsNarrow-bordered Five-Spot Burnet MothZygaena lonicerae12/07/2011
    Dragonflies and DamselfliesEmerald DamselflyLestes sponsa22/08/2011
    BirdsGarganeyAnas querquedula27/03/2012
    BeetlesFigwort WeevilCionus scrophulariae12/07/2014
    WildflowersFool's Water-cressHelosciadium nodiflorum12/07/2014
    BirdsHouse MartinDelichon urbicum07/06/2015
    BirdsRed KiteMilvus milvus07/06/2015
    MothsThe MagpieAbraxas grossulariata15/08/2015
    MothsThe SpectacleAbrostola tripartita15/08/2015
    MothsGrey Knot-hornAcrobasis advenella15/08/2015
    MothsBrown-spot Flat-bodyAgonopterix alstromeriana15/08/2015
    MothsCommon Grass-veneerAgriphila tristella15/08/2015
    MothsShuttle-shaped DartAgrotis puta15/08/2015
    MothsMouse MothAmphipyra tragopoginis15/08/2015