Montgomery Canal: Wildlife re-homed for canal boats

Montgomery canal, Shropshire
Image caption Only after more reserves have been created will the number of boats be allowed to increase

Reserves are being created alongside a Shropshire canal so boat numbers can increase without affecting wildlife.

Boat numbers are currently restricted on the Montgomery canal near Oswestry because it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The Canal and River Trust wants more boats to be allowed to use the canal, which is gradually being re-opened after a complete closure in the 1940s.

The reserves will recreate the habitat offered by the undisturbed canal.

The trust said the canal was "one of the most important canals in the country for nature".

It is home to otters, water voles and rare aquatic plants and also attracts many insects including dragonflies and damselflies.

Stuart Moodie, from the trust said: "What we'd like to do is to bring in tourists to use the canal but to do that in a way that safeguards the wildlife."

'Rare animals'

He described the Montgomery canal as "beautiful".

Image caption The reserves will take water from the canal for ponds to recreate the canal's habitat

Brian Hogbin, from the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, said: "We've got an agreed protocol so that all the rare plants can be looked after, as well as all the other invertebrates and birds."

Only once more reserves have been created will the number of boats using the canal be allowed to increase.

Other canals are also being used as green corridors for mammals and other species to use.

On the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal at Greensforge near Stourbridge, boxes are being put up by wildlife groups to encourage dormice to nest along the waterway.

Ecologist Paul Wilkinson said: "They are very rare animals and the project aims to use the canal as a long linear corridor so that we can link woodlands sites where they may occur."

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