Nature took over this site, following a period of decline, influenced by the rise of railways, the uneconomic incline plane and the subsequent reduction in boats.

Kilby-Foxton SSSI Kilby-Foxton SSSI

Why it's so special

The Leicester Line (formally two canals – Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Union Canal and the ‘old’ Grand Union Canal) eventually functioned as one stretch of canal in 1894 following an interesting 100 year period of intermittent development.

It provided a connection to the main canal network for Market Harborough and the city of Leicester, for goods such as coal and lime, navigating the rolling countryside through the use of locks, tunnels and the short-lived Foxton Incline Plane.

The Kilby – Foxton SSSI is designated for its diverse and abundant aquatic plant communities, especially Pondweeds, some of which are uncommon.  It is also designated for the colony of Daubenton’s bats found in Saddington Tunnel.   Kilby-Foxton SSSI was protected by the Nature Conservancy (Natural England today) in 1956.

The plan

The main threats to the canal wildlife are declines in water quality from diffuse pollution and organic material such as leaves entering the water, over-shading and offside vegetation. 

These directly affect numbers and quality of aquatic plants and subsequently invertebrate, mammal and bird habitat they support.

We will help improve the habitat in this special area for the benefit of the wildlife and visitors with an SSSI Action Plan. 

What we've done already

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

  • Sensitive planned offside vegetation management
  • Focused hedgerow management using traditional hedge laying methods
  • Reduced the impact of shade on the water
  • Reduced leaf littering

This special nature site lies between Debdale Wharf and Kilby Bridge, winding its way through the county of Leicestershire.