Grantham Canal (Redmile to Muston)

    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

    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: 303

    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.



    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.

    Latest records

    Common Name Latin Name Date Recorded Recorded By
    Orange TipAnthocharis cardamines20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    PeacockAglais io20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    Small TortoiseshellAglais urticae20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    Speckled WoodPararge aegeria20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    Small CopperLycaena phlaeas20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    WhitethroatSylvia communis20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    BlackcapSylvia atricapilla20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    SkylarkAlauda arvensis20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    Willow WarblerPhylloscopus trochilus20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    GoldfinchCarduelis carduelis20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    Sedge WarblerAcrocephalus schoenobaenus20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    Hedgerow Crane's-billGeranium pyrenaicum20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    Cut-leaved Crane's-billGeranium dissectum20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    Goat's-beardTragopogon pratensis20/05/2019Steve Mathers
    Red-tailed BumblebeeBombus lapidarius20/05/2019Steve Mathers

    Group Common name Latin name Last seen
    Bees, Wasps, AntsRed-tailed BumblebeeBombus lapidarius20/05/2019
    BeetlesMecinus pyraster20/05/2019
    BeetlesTrichosirocalus troglodytes20/05/2019
    BugsRed-and-black FroghopperCercopis vulnerata20/05/2019
    ButterfliesSmall CopperLycaena phlaeas20/05/2019
    ButterfliesSpeckled WoodPararge aegeria20/05/2019
    MothsPlain GoldMicropterix calthella20/05/2019
    SawfliesTenthredo temula20/05/2019
    WildflowersCut-leaved Crane's-billGeranium dissectum20/05/2019
    WildflowersGoat's-beardTragopogon pratensis20/05/2019
    BirdsRed-legged PartridgeAlectoris rufa18/04/2019
    BirdsCormorantPhalacrocorax carbo18/04/2019
    BugsSloe BugDolycoris baccarum18/04/2019
    Ferns & HorsetailsWater FernAzolla filiculoides18/04/2019
    Beetles7 Spot LadybirdCoccinella septempunctata25/03/2019
    BirdsRookCorvus frugilegus25/03/2019
    MothsBordered CarlCoptotriche marginea25/03/2019
    MothsGolden Pigmy agg.Stigmella aurella agg.25/03/2019
    WildflowersWhite Dead-nettleLamium album25/03/2019
    BirdsLapwingVanellus vanellus13/02/2019
    MammalsBrown HareLepus europaeus13/02/2019
    BirdsPied WagtailMotacilla alba09/05/2018
    BirdsGrey WagtailMotacilla cinerea09/05/2018
    Flies, Gnats and MidgesSt Mark's FlyBibio marci09/05/2018
    Bees, Wasps, AntsBuff-tailed BumblebeeBombus terrestris21/04/2018
    BirdsMallardAnas platyrhynchos21/04/2018
    BirdsBlackcapSylvia atricapilla21/04/2018
    WildflowersGarlic MustardAlliaria petiolata21/04/2018
    WildflowersCow ParsleyAnthriscus sylvestris21/04/2018
    WildflowersShepherd's-purseCapsella bursa-pastoris21/04/2018