This page enables you to search for some of the best places to see wildlife in Leicestershire and Rutland. It's not comprehensive but we will keep adding new sites as we get records and images. If you have a favourite site that you would like to see added, let us know.
You can use the filters below to find sites in your district or parish, or type any part of the site name to search for a particular site. Just click on APPLY when you have entered your selection. Alternatively you can browse the full list below.
This 80 hectare site is a country park with a visitor centre and a network or well-marked paths. It has extensive mature woodland, unimproved grassland and a number of other features such as ponds and streams.
This quiet country lane offers a lovely walk into the National Forest, with rolling hills, new woodland and a historic landscape around you. The lane only offers access to a few houses but there is a very small car park at Burroughs Wood. At the end of the lane there is a tarmac cycle path that weaves its way to Thornton Reservoir. It is just possible to glimpse Bury Camp, a large Iron Age settlement, now on private land about 150 metres from the road.
This reserve is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and covers 26.8 ha. The display of bluebells in Burrow Wood in the spring is an impressive sight and it also has a great variety of dead wood habitats, from standing dead trees to rotting fallen trees and branches, which are important for insects.
The reserve is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and covers 193.5 ha. Most of the reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and part was declared a National Nature Reserve in 2000. Note that significant areas of this important and sensitive nature reserve have no public access. Other areas have limited access to LRWT members and other permit holders only.
This 33 hectare site is ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It stands on Keuper Marl and Boulder Clay and is one of the most floristically rich sites in the county. In the past it was a larger site standing on Carboniferous Limestone but this has since been quarried out. The woodland was clear-felled around the time of World War II but was allowed to regenerate naturally. It was donated to the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in 1993 by Ennstone Breedon plc. The Trust has now reinstigated coppice management in parts of the site.
This site includes 120 acres of young woodland in amongst a popular nature discovery centre. The National Forest Charitable Trust is the Trust that owns Conkers has the wider objective of reclaiming derelict industrial landscapes, planting trees, creating recreational forests and parkland for the local and regional communities.
Cossington Meadows covers 86 ha and is the largest of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust's six nature reserves in the Soar valley. The area was quarried for gravel during the 1980s and 1990s, the pits then being filled and the area relandscaped, with several deep holes in the north of the site filling with water to form lakes. The Trust has created new wader scrapes and grazes the grassland areas.
This is a private site - the offices and grounds of Leicestershire County Council. Though we usually only include sites with public access, we have included it partly because over 2,500 staff have access to the area and also because the grounds include areas of notable wildlife interest.
Mixed habitat NatureSpot including some 4 hectares of deciduous woodland with areas of open grassland leading onto approximately 1 hectare of the Flood Retention area to the west. Sketchley Brook flows along the full southern length of the site plus an additional inflow from the north feeding the permanent wetland, sloping from north to south.
Croft Hill stands 128m high in a largely flat area of Leicestershire. The Hill provides a number of habitats including broad-leaved woodland, scrub land, acidic grassland and two other distinct areas of grassland.
This Wildlife Trust reserve was glebe land, and is mainly unimproved grazing, with the exception of the south eastern corner, which has been top-dressed at some time in the past. The River Soar runs northwards and eastwards across the reserve, and was excluded from the improvement when much of the upper Soar was deepened and canalised in the early 1970s. Habitats include running water, river bank, and neutral and siliceous (sandy) grassland.
This reserve is partly in Derbyshire and partly in Leicestershire, and is owned by Severn Trent Water and managed by the Wildlife Trust. It covers 23.5 ha and is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The woodland park is managed by Leicestershire County Council on the site of the former Donisthorpe Colliery that closed in 1990. The site has been planted with oak/ash woodland, poplars and Corsican pine. Stone surfaced paths take you around the site and link with the towpath of the restored section of the Ashby Canal that leads to the Moira Furnace.
Donkey Lane in Sapcote is a short unmade road which runs from the Bassett Lane Cemetery for a few hundred yards. The wide verges of lush vegetation and high hedges either side encourage a rich insect population typical of woodland edge, and at the end of the lane is a small copse with Aspen amongst other species. Having reached the small copse area anyone wishing to extend their walk can follow public footpaths into the fields in two directions.
Only two miles away from the City centre, Evington Park has the tranquil atmosphere of the country estate it once was. The 44 acres of parkland includes meadow areas, ponds and a wide variety of trees. The land was purchased by Leicester City Council and opened as a park in 1948. A Bioblitz was held on 25-26th May 2012 to record as many species as possible over a 24 hour period.
This large reservoir straddles the border between Leicestershire and Rutland. Access is limited but good views of the inflow end are available from the road and this is where most of the birds are. It is an excellent bird watching area and has produced a number of unusual species. The reservoir has a famous history as it was the test area for the revolutionary 'bouncing bomb' used in the Dambuster raids during World Word II. It was built between 1937 and 1940 by damming the Eye Brook and the site now covers around 200 hectares (150ha of open water).
Feanedock and Boothorpe are new woodlands planted on former farmland in the Ashby Woulds, both sites are owned by the National Forest Company. The neighbouring Mayberry Wood and Rawdon East Wood are examples of reclaimed habitats on former coal mining sites.