Grantham Canal dredging to help rare plants

Grantham Canal Image copyright Canal & River Trust
Image caption Reeds can dominate the canal and harm its overall ecology

Dredging has started in a canal to help improve water quality and encourage the growth of rare plants.

The Grantham Canal runs from the Lincolnshire town of Grantham, through Leicestershire, before joining the River Trent in Nottinghamshire.

The Canal & River Trust is dredging silt from a 6km (3.7 miles) stretch designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The trust said the £179,000 project should help a rare pondweed to thrive.

Lucie Hoelmer, from the Canal & River Trust, said; "The Grantham Canal is a really special place for wildlife making it one of the nation's most cherished waterways.

"However, whilst it looks idyllic we do have to give a helping hand from time to time to make sure particular species, such as reeds, don't dominate and harm the overall ecology of the canal."

The dredging, taking place between Harby, in Nottinghamshire, and Redmile, in Leicestershire, will reduce silt on the canal bed and help slow the flow of water to encourage grasswrack pondweed to grow, the trust said.

Students from Brooksby Melton College have been propagating the plants ready for growing in the spring.

The work is due to be completed by Christmas.

Grantham Canal

Image copyright Canal & River Trust
  • The canal connects Nottingham and Grantham, passing through three counties
  • It opened in 1797 and originally transported coal and bulk materials including stone and lime
  • Competition from the railways began to affect profits from about 1830
  • The last traffic on the Grantham Canal was human waste collected and used as fertiliser
  • This was put onto canal barges and transported to farms in the Vale of Belvoir
  • The canal stopped being used to transport waste in the mid-1920s

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