Stop 11: Watery wonders

Rare wildlife was first discovered in the canal in Victorian times and now part of the canal is a Special Area of Conservation, recognised as being of European importance.

Kingfisher perched on branch Kingfisher

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The Montgomery Canal is one of the best wildlife sites in Europe. It has a fantastic range of wildlife, including mammals, birds and insects and rare water plants. The section between Welshpool and Newtown is one of the best sites for some of these plants in the world.

An artificial structure

The canal is an artificial structure and so all the wildlife that lives in it has moved in from somewhere else, from ponds, lakes and rivers including the Rivers Dee (via the Llangollen canal), the Tanat and Severn, from where feed water comes. Floating water plantain is naturally found in lakes and river oxbows (cut-off bends) and competes poorly with other plants for light and nutrients and so prefers places other plants find difficult to grow, such as shady or disturbed areas.

You can see floating water plantain all through the year growing on the bed of the canal.  During the spring and summer, stems will grow up through the water, some with new plants on the end and some with fingernail sized leaves and small, three-petalled white flowers. Floating water plantain is protected by law and a licence is needed to do any work that may disturb it.


The next stop is just on the other side of the bridge.

The remaining nine waymark signs are located along the towpath between here and Brithdir. Further directions are not given on subsequent pages.

What can you see?

Download our handy spotters guide to help you identify many of the other aquatic plants that are present on the canal.

PDF to be added

Last date edited: 17 July 2015