The banks of the Grand Canal are well suited to the walker with an interest in wildlife. Towpaths give safe and easy access to the waterside, often comfortably distant from heavy traffic yet never too far from town or car.
Man, by building the canal linking the waters of the Shannon and Barrow to Dublin, has accidentally created a first-class nature reserve. The canal waters, largely supplied by springs are clean, well-aerated and rich in lime, and support a wide variety of wildlife. Some species have made their way into the canal from local sources. Others have moved in from the Shannon and Barrow either by their own efforts or assisted by the dragging action of barges and pleasure boats or by the quiet but steady flow of the waters themselves. As local wetlands continue to dissapear, the conservation potential of the canal increases.