The wetland habitats of Ardclough include a large lake in the estate of Lyons , the Grand canal which runs through the village, several quarry lakes , some small marsh areas and various small streams and watercourses. This is indeed a rich habitat for many wildlife species and many types of plants. All of these wetlands are bordered by reeds, shrubs and other aquatic plants. These wetlands not only support native species of wildlife but also attract on occasion more rarer species and even some sea birds. There is also the added benefit of insect generation which in turn supports both bird and bat species.
(A) Quarry Lake. This is a small lake formed from previous excavations. It is set in a very picturesque background surrounded by newly restored buildings dating back to a period when a mill was in operation nearby. Water is taken from above the 13th Lock and diverted through this site before re entering at a point below the lock. The differential head of water drove a mill wheel used for crushing grain, however both the lake and waterway have importance in wildlife terms not least the fact that the water is oxygenated at re entry and attracts fish at this point, just below this are spawning grounds among reed beds for fish specie between the 13th and 12th locks.
(B) Quarry Lake. This is a large lake with a significant body of water. It is relatively secluded and edged with vegetation except for one corner. Although like the other lakes it supports a fish population it is perhaps more interesting for the water and waterside birds that can be found here. There is an island at one end and this provides a safe nesting area and is key to the on going success of the site.
(C) Quarry Lake. Although smaller than the previous lake this is of significant size and offers a nearby habitat of similar type that helps expansion of newer populations to maintain healthy numbers of certain species. It also contains a fish population.
(D) Quarry Lake This is a smaller lake surrounded by shrubbery and small trees. It is not used frequently by the main species of waterbirds in the previous lakes but is used by ducks. It also has an ruined tower at the waters edge.
(E) Man Made Lake. This is a very old man made lake and the largest such example in Ireland at the time. It supports both bird and fish populations. However its importance doesn’t end there. It is set within a large estate and is relatively undisturbed and together with nearby woodlands provides a unique habitat that supports some rare species along with the more common range of local species. Only a limited study has been carried out at this location to date and further studies may well add to the species lists.
(F) Lower Canal. Like most canals this is a slow moving body of water compared with rivers but some fish species found in rivers are also present in canals. Within Ardclough this is the body of water that supports the greatest number of fish species. The fish population is important as it in turn supports both bird and mammal species that prey on them. This section of the canal has traditionally been more important for certain species (such as Trout) than the upper section and has important spawning grounds. This section is also bordered by open wood lands providing good protection and habitat for many species.
(G) Upper Canal. This section of the canal contain much the same species as the lower section However it is more important for waterside mammals. It is also the section most walked by both local and visiting people and more suitable for interpretive signs
(H) Marsh. This is a small area of marshy ground with reed beds and important for species such as Frogs that spawn there. Many of the smaller watercourses not shown on the main map are also used for this purpose and are an integral part of the areas wetlands.