Attenborough Arboretum

Wildlife Highlights

The site is an old one on which the present planting scheme has been imposed; not all the trees in the arboretum are natives.  The collection is augmented by many mature alien species, in particular the Horse Chestnut, which is indigenous to south-eastern Europe, but which had been introduced to Britain by the early 17th century.

Wild places

Total species seen at this site: 209


The Attenborough Arboretum site occupies about five acres and forms part of the land that used to belong to Home Farm.  (The old farm house still exists nearby and has been converted into maisonettes.)  The arboretum features possibly the only surviving example in the city of a mediaeval ridge-and-furrow field and also contains two large ponds.  The arboretum was opened on 23rd April 1997.  About 20 local schools helped in the planting phase in March 1996, and over 40 attended the grand opening ceremony, conducted by Sir David Attenborough, after whose family the arboretum is named.

The planting scheme at the arboretum is designed to display our native trees more or less in the sequence in which they arrived in this country following the ending of the last ice-age, approximately 10,000 years ago.  Thus among the first trees you will meet on going for a walk around the arboretum will be Scots Pine, Juniper, Hazel and Birch; among the last is the Beech, which apparently crossed from France just before the English Channel formed about 7,500 years ago.  The timing of the various arrivals is based largely on fossil evidence, especially of pollen.

Latest records

Common Name Latin Name Date Recorded Recorded By
CommaPolygonia c-album25/08/2017Saharima Roenisch
Dusky BrocadeApamea remissa25/08/2017Saharima Roenisch
Smooth NewtLissotriton vulgaris31/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Hill Cuckoo BeeBombus rupestris31/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Common Flower BugAnthocoris nemorum31/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Harmandiola tremulae31/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Square-stalked St John's-wortHypericum tetrapterum31/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Southern HawkerAeshna cyanea31/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Volucella inanis31/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Dusky SlugArion subfuscus31/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Harlequin LadybirdHarmonia axyridis31/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Spangle Gall WaspNeuroterus quercusbaccarum28/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Common DarterSympetrum striolatum28/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Dingy FootmanEilema griseola28/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Four Coloured Cuckoo BeeBombus sylvestris28/07/2017Saharima Roenisch
Further Information

Opening times are 9.30 to 3.30 Monday to Thursday, 9.30 to 3.00 Friday.

Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Guided tours can be arranged through Leicester Botanic Garden, 0116 2712933,

Getting There

The Attenborough Arboretum entrance is on Carisbrooke Road in Knighton, where there is a car park. However, the gate is normally locked, and access is now via College Court on Knighton Road.

The Arriva Midlands 44 and 44A buses run past the Arboretum.  Travelling from the city centre, get off at the last stop on Queen's Road and walk round the corner onto Knighton Road or at the first stop on Carisbrooke Road and walk back onto Knighton Road.

All main paths are wheelchair accessible.

Managed By
Leicester University

Group Common Name Latin Name Last Seen
Beetles7 Spot LadybirdCoccinella septempunctata25/07/2017
FungiAlder BracketInonotus radiatus24/01/2017
Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersAshFraxinus excelsior13/06/2012
Dragonflies and DamselfliesAzure DamselflyCoenagrion puella01/06/2017
MammalsBadgerMeles meles06/03/2015
Dragonflies and DamselfliesBanded DemoiselleCalopteryx splendens01/06/2017
BugsBishop's Mitre ShieldbugAelia acuminata25/07/2017
WildflowersBlack HorehoundBallota nigra04/07/2015
FungiBlack Witches ButterExidia glandulosa24/02/2017
BirdsBlackbirdTurdus merula15/05/2015
Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersBlackthornPrunus spinosa24/02/2017
FungiBleeding Broadleaf CrustStereum rugosum20/01/2017
BirdsBlue TitCyanistes caeruleus15/05/2015
Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersBramble agg.Rubus fruticosus agg.26/07/2017
WormsBrandling WormEisenia fetida20/03/2017
ButterfliesBrimstoneGonepteryx rhamni15/03/2017
WildflowersBristly OxtongueHelminthotheca echioides13/06/2012
WildflowersBroad-leaved DockRumex obtusifolius24/02/2017
WildflowersBrooklimeVeronica beccabunga13/06/2012
Slugs & SnailsBrown-lipped SnailCepaea nemoralis08/03/2017
Dragonflies and DamselfliesBrown HawkerAeshna grandis07/07/2015
Bees, Wasps, AntsBuff-tailed BumblebeeBombus terrestris06/01/2015
BirdsBullfinchPyrrhula pyrrhula24/02/2017
insect - hymenopteranBumblebeeBombus25/07/2017
FungiCandlesnuff FungusXylaria hypoxylon24/01/2017
BirdsCarrion CrowCorvus corone24/02/2017
WildflowersCelery-leaved ButtercupRanunculus sceleratus13/06/2012
BirdsChaffinchFringilla coelebs24/01/2017
Slugs & SnailsChestnut SlugDeroceras invadens24/02/2017
BirdsChiffchaffPhylloscopus collybita16/03/2015