In 1974 the Glamorgan Naturalists' Trust purchased 0.3 ha stretch of canal, bank and towpath at Nightingale's Bush. Woodland on the bank was described as comprising willow scrub with sallow, osier, sycamore and guelder rose. Aquatic plants included the relatively rare arrowhead. Nightingales Bush, No. 32 of the Trust's reserves, was seen as a refuge for plant and animal life in a location close to the town centre which could be used to encourage educational use and public appreciation. The Trust led the clearance of the canal at the reserve and was supported by BTCV, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
In 1978 a Prince of Wales Award was granted for the project "Glamorgan Canal Nature Reserve and Children's Pond Dipping Afternoons". The contributions to this project of the Trust, local authorities and Brown Lenox were recognised.
The 1980 annual report recorded the planting of a hedge, funded by the Prince of Wales Award Committee, and weed clearance work. The report also mentioned the negative public reaction to a boundary wall being built by Brown Lenox.
A later report, in 1991, commented on the land to the north which, for a period, was managed by the Trust on behalf of Brown Lenox. At that time twice-yearly work parties manned by conservation volunteers from the Polytechnic trimmed overhanging vegetation and kept the water flowing. More regular work parties were held by the Trust members. Flora and fauna listed included greater celandine, yellow flag and yellow archangel with nesting birds - thrushes, great tit, black cap, robin, wren and dunnock. Objectives included obtaining formal agreement for c are of the land to the north, exploiting historical significance and publicising the educational potential. A link road planned for A470 would have crossed the reserve land but was never built. The maintenance of the reserve suffered from the hiatus caused by the compulsory purchase order, lack of support and public intrusion - particularly fly tipping.
The reserve land was sold in 2008 by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, into which the Trust had been absorbed, the loss of the rare arrowhead plant being a significant factor. The new owner, Mr V Griffiths, is a supporter of the moves for canal restoration.
Any future development of the canal must recognize its potential as a haven for wildlife.