Priors Coppice

Wild places

Total species seen at this site: 163

Description

Priors Coppice is owned by Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, covers 29 ha and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This is an ancient ash-maple and ash-wych elm woodland, probably a relic of the wildwood which covered all of Leicestershire and Rutland before prehistoric people started to clear it. The area which is now know, as Prior's Coppice was probably not cleared of trees because the combination of steep north facing slope and the very heavy clay soil must have made it seem a very unpromising place for cultivation. Conservation management of the woodland involves re-introduction of coppicing in some areas to encourage those species which benefit from this process, and the retention of other areas as minimum intervention zones. 
The wide rides present in the wood contain exceptionally fine examples of woodland marshy grassland, a distinctive but increasingly rare habitat in our counties. The rides are mown annually, and the cut vegetation removed. The shrubs alongside the rides are cut in sections on a rotation of 7-10 years. At some ride junctions glades have been created by coppicing of the surrounding woodland.

Badger, fox, stoat, muntjac and grass-snake have all been recorded and of 71 species of birds noted to date, 42 have probably bred. There are good numbers of nuthatch, blackcap, garden warbler and many others. Rare visitors have included pied flycatcher and redstart. 
Invertebrate life has not been as well documented, but species of interest which have been recorded are the very local speckled bush-cricket and the slug Limax cinereoniger. More than 200 species of moth are known to have occurred, and orange tip and brimstone butterflies are common in spring. Both purple and white-letter hairstreaks are present.

Latest records

Managed By
Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust

Group Common name Latin name Last seen
AmphibiansCommon ToadBufo bufo14/05/2015
Bees, Wasps, AntsAndricus callidoma04/09/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsAndricus corruptrix04/09/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsAndricus gemmeus04/09/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsOak Marble Gall WaspAndricus kollari21/09/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsKnopper Oak Gall WaspAndricus quercuscalicis21/09/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsAndricus quercuscorticis04/09/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsCommon Carder BumblebeeBombus pascuorum15/05/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsPea GallCynips divisa06/07/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsTree WaspDolichovespula sylvestris27/07/2014
Bees, Wasps, AntsOyster Gall WaspNeuroterus anthracinus21/09/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsSilk Button Gall WaspNeuroterus numismalis21/09/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsSpangle Gall WaspNeuroterus quercusbaccarum06/07/2017
BeetlesCantharis pellucida15/05/2016
BeetlesBirch Leaf RollerDeporaus betulae29/04/2017
BeetlesCommon Sexton BeetleNicrophorus vespilloides13/08/2013
BeetlesWhite Clover Seed WeevilProtapion fulvipes29/04/2017
BeetlesCardinal BeetlePyrochroa serraticornis15/05/2016
BeetlesRutpela maculata27/06/2015
BeetlesStenocorus meridianus27/06/2015
BirdsBuzzardButeo buteo12/05/2015
BirdsCarrion CrowCorvus corone14/05/2015
BirdsCuckooCuculus canorus15/05/2016
BirdsRed KiteMilvus milvus15/05/2016
BirdsChiffchaffPhylloscopus collybita14/05/2015
BirdsGreen WoodpeckerPicus viridis14/05/2015
BugsCommon Flower BugAnthocoris nemorum29/04/2017
BugsRed-and-black FroghopperCercopis vulnerata14/05/2015
BugsEuropean Elm Leafcurl AphidEriosoma ulmi06/07/2017
BugsPsyllopsis fraxini06/07/2017