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
BirdsWood PigeonColumba palumbus20/03/2012
BirdsGreen WoodpeckerPicus viridis20/03/2012
WildflowersRamsonsAllium ursinum20/03/2012
WildflowersLesser CelandineFicaria verna20/03/2012
WildflowersDandelion agg.Taraxacum officinale agg.20/03/2012
Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersAshFraxinus excelsior13/06/2012
Trees, Shrubs & ClimbersElderSambucus nigra13/06/2012
WildflowersGround-elderAegopodium podagraria13/06/2012
WildflowersCow ParsleyAnthriscus sylvestris13/06/2012
WildflowersCut-leaved Crane's-billGeranium dissectum13/06/2012
WildflowersWood AvensGeum urbanum13/06/2012
WildflowersBristly OxtongueHelminthotheca echioides13/06/2012
WildflowersYellow IrisIris pseudacorus13/06/2012
WildflowersNipplewortLapsana communis13/06/2012
WildflowersWater-cressNasturtium officinale13/06/2012
WildflowersLong-headed PoppyPapaver dubium13/06/2012
WildflowersCreeping CinquefoilPotentilla reptans13/06/2012
WildflowersCommon Water-crowfootRanunculus aquatilis13/06/2012
WildflowersCelery-leaved ButtercupRanunculus sceleratus13/06/2012
WildflowersCommon SorrelRumex acetosa13/06/2012
WildflowersCommon GroundselSenecio vulgaris13/06/2012
WildflowersPrickly Sow-thistleSonchus asper13/06/2012
WildflowersRed CloverTrifolium pratense13/06/2012
WildflowersCommon NettleUrtica dioica13/06/2012
WildflowersBrooklimeVeronica beccabunga13/06/2012
WildflowersGermander SpeedwellVeronica chamaedrys13/06/2012
WildflowersCommon VetchVicia sativa13/06/2012
Bees, Wasps, AntsHairy-footed Flower BeeAnthophora plumipes10/03/2014
Ferns & HorsetailsWater FernAzolla filiculoides25/07/2014
WildflowersHoary RagwortSenecio erucifolius25/07/2014