We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Since the Grantham Canal closed to boating in 1929, nature has reclaimed it. It is still mostly full of water, and is a valuable wetland habitat, running through the arable landscape of the Vale of Belvoir.

View across fields with Grantham Canal running through the middle Grantham Canal

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Much of the canal is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, home to a rich diversity of wildlife. The reedbeds are home to rare bird species including sedge warbler, reed warbler and reed bunting. The towpath has been rebuilt as a lovely walking and cycling route.

The Grantham Canal Society is working on ways to restore the canal for boats, while preserving it as a space for nature. A stretch of canal from Woolsthorpe to the A1 near Grantham is now once again navigable and the Society runs boat trips there.

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Family days out

Our canals are rich in history and wildlife, making for great spots for a family day out. Nottingham is particularly blessed with several must-see locations on its doorstep.

Woolsthorpe is a great place for a short walk along the canal; for a longer walk you could follow the Grantham to Bottesford Railway Walk, which includes several miles along the towpath.

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The history

Conceived during the 'Canal Mania' years at the end of the 18th century, the canal was a profitable enterprise up until the arrival of the railways in the 1850s. A gradual decline in traffic led to the canal being abandoned by the London & North Eastern Railway, its then owners, in 1936.

Much of the canal remained in water due to agreements for irrigating agriculture, although a section at Cropwell Bishop was allowed to dry out. The rural route of the canal meant that it escaped infilling, though a railway embankment was built across the canal at Woolthorpe in the 1950s and has had to be excavated.

Many hump-backed bridges were replaced with flat bridges over the years, and this has also created an obstacle to navigation.