The 11 miles of canal is home to a variety of wildlife and provides a great opportunity to get close to nature.  In recognition of this the canal was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 2005.

You can also find out more about the Grand Western Canal Wildlife by Clicking this link to Devon County Council's website: 'DCC Website'


Brown Swan

The canal is home to a wide range of bird species. Waterfowl are found along most stretches - as well as Moorhens, Mute Swans and Mallards being a common sight too. Late summer / early spring also sees Kingfishers along the canal banks. 

Other birds that are regularly seen around our landscape include; Grey Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler. 

Some less frequent birds include; Water Rail, Little Grebe and Snipe.


Peacock Butterfly

Butterflies and dragonflies are often spotted during spring and summer. The section of canal between Sampford Peverell and Westleigh is a particular favourite for the dragonflies, including the Scarce Chaser. An information panel telling walkers about these interesting insects is located near Ebear Bridge. 


Early Purple Orchid

There is a multitude of colourful plant life amongst our nature reserve, providing colour and depth to the hedgerows. The Grand Western Canal plant life is unique in the fact that the bankside vegetation is allowed to grow throughout summer. This enables a mass of wildflowers to grow, which in turn provides food and nutrients for the many insects.

You may also notice some impressive looking Oak trees along your walks of the canalside, these are prized amongst the wildlife and provides shelter and safety for small animals and birds.


One of the most elusive mammals amongst our nature lovers is the Otter. Have you been lucky enough to spot one?

As well as the Otter, we have other mammals roaming amongst our reserve such as foxes, badgers and deer. Bats are also a common occurrence and our Canal Ranger Service offers bat walks each year which provides members of the public with a unique sensory experience in and around the park.

Have you got a picture of the otters? or another mammal on the canal? Send us your pictures!