Chesterfield Canal

Did you know over a third of the 46 mile long Chesterfield Canal is a protected nature site?

Chesterfield Canal SSSI Chesterfield Canal SSSI

Nearly 12 and half miles between Retford to Misterton is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

This special nature site lies in the flat rural landscape of northern Nottinghamshire, within the flood plains of the River Idle and River Trent.

Why it's so special

The Chesterfield Canal runs between the River Trent at Stockwith, Nottinghamshire and the market town of Chesterfield, Derbyshire. It was built to export coal, limestone and lead from Derbyshire, iron from Chesterfield along with agricultural goods and timber.  Due to competition from the railways and problems with mining subsidence, the canal fell into disuse with some lengths being in-filled. 

In 1961 a proposal to abandon the whole canal was prevented due to public protests and was re-classified between the Trent and Worksop, as a cruising canal under the 1968 Transport Act, with the remaining lengths deemed unsuitable for commercial or leisure traffic. The canal has been in the process of restoration ever since the 1970’s and continues to the present day.

In 1987 this special nature site became so important that the Nature Conservancy Council (Natural England today) protected the 12 and half miles with a Site of Special Interest designation.

The plan

The main threat to this valuable protected habitat is a decline in water quality due to fresh water pollution from surrounding agricultural land and discharges. Even shading and leaf debris from adjacent trees can affect the water in which the uncommon plant species try to thrive.

We will, through sensitive management and a series of continual wildlife surveys, supported by local volunteers, is keen to gain a better understanding of the canal’s wildlife complexities.  

In addition, thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are developing a SSSI Action Plan to help focus its management priorities, to improve the habitat in this special area for the benefit of wildlife and visitors to enjoy for years to come.  

What we've done already

Thanks to the support though funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery:

  • Sensitive planned tree management to reduce shading and leaf litter impact – Hayton, Nottinghamshire
  • Green bank protection by our fantastic volunteers – Ottersbridge, near Clayworth, Nottinghamshire
  • Water quality surveys – Retford to Misterton
  • Water quality testing at water supply reservoirs – supported by our fantastic volunteers.

This special nature site lies in the flat rural landscape of northern Nottinghamshire, within the flood plains of the River Idle and River Trent.