Wild places

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.

These three woodlands make up an area of mixed aged trees, hedgerows, grasslands and open space.  Gresley Wood is a 42 hectare site with a history of farming and opencast mining. Tunnel Woods is community woodland and both of these sites are owned by the Forestry Commission. The neighbouring Princess Diana Wood is a developing woodland with excellent access and is owned by the National Forest Charitable Trust.

Groby Pool is situated on the southern edge of the Charnwood Forest and is reputedly the largest natural expanse of open water in Leicestershire, covering 38 acres (15 ha). There was no mention of a lake in the Domesday Book, though it has been referred to since 1297. Research into the Lake sediments has confirmed that Groby Pool is of relatively recent origin. It may have resulted from the damming of Slate Brook in the 12th/13th century by the monks from Leicester abbey.

This area was created by Blaby District Council and constitutes a large grassland area surrounded by mature hedges and trees.

This area lies at the centre of the 200 square mile National Forest. Formerly coalfields it has been transformed into an attractive, wooded landscape. The Black to Green project, run jointly by the National Forest and the Wildlife Trust, is working to engage the local community in managing this area and recording the wildlife on its many sites.

Highway Spinney is a semi-natural woodland and was designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) in 1999. It lies at the edge of Leicester and is separated from its sister woodland, Meynell's Gorse, by Hinckley Road. Conservation work is undertaken by the Friends of Highway Spinney, supported by Groundwork Leicester and Leicestershire.

This old granite quarry is now managed as a nature reserve. Part of the site is flooded and this is securely fenced off. It is one of the highest points in Leicestershire and offers good view across Markfield and towards Leicester. Its developed was funded by Leicestershire County Council FLAG and Shire Grants and National Forest tree planting grants.

The area south east of Holwell village was originally mined for building stone. There is evidence to suggest that Brown’s Hill Quarry was in existence by 1815. Ironstone was first quarried from the area by the Stanton Ironworks company from 1879 until 1881. Mining resumed in 1918 and continued until 1933 when the company began to work the mine with galleries based on the pillar-and-stall method. Open cast working was reinstated at the quarry between 1953 and 1957 when exploitation ceased.

Humberstone Park was opened in 1925 and covers 20 acres. The Bushby Brook and old Great Northern Railway embankment have been incorporated into the park to create havens for wildlife.
Prestop Park is a 26 ha site comprising of broadleaved and conifer trees along with a small wetland area. The neighbouring John’s Wood is 35 ha containing extensive areas of poplar, grasslands and a newly created pond.

The Jubilee Walk is a beautiful and serene walk along an old railway cutting at Leire which runs towards the golf course near Ullesthorpe.  Work by the Leire Council and volunteers ensure that this is kept clear for walkers.  It should be noted that access from the parking area is on a short slope but steps have been provided.  The cutting can be a real sun trap in warmer months, but may be quite damp and require boots or wellingtons in early spring before the ground dries out.  in 2010 more work was done to make pathways through the damper areas easier for walke

The Jubilee Way was opened in 1977, to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. This twenty-mile walk starts farther south in Leicestershire and passes through Melton Mowbray on its way northwards to the Vale of Belvoir. It ends just east of Belvoir Castle at Woolsthorpe where it links with another long distance path - the Viking Way.

This reserve covers 8.1 ha and is owned by the Wildlife Trust.

Ketton Quarry is an active limestone quarry, but the reserve is a long worked-out part of the site. It consists of hills, holes and a few rocky outcrops that have been colonised by a wide range of calcareous limestone plants. Parts of the site have become scrubbed over and there is a planted beech wood. The reserve is leased by the Wildlife Trust from Castle Cement and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

This site comprises a number of ponds and ditches created as as extensive urban drainage scheme. It has been colonised by a wide range of wetland plants and now provides excellent habitat.

Knighton Park is a significant area of green open space at the southern boundary of the ward, where it meets with Oadby and Wigston. It contains Knighton Spinney, which is a local nature reserve, and is open to the public on some Sundays. The Saffron Brook runs through the park, and there is a pond in the Heath Garden, both of which provide habitats for a number of aquatic species. The park contains a large number of native and ornamental trees, and there is a tree trail to guide visitors round 20 interesting and significant trees.

Launde Big Wood covers 42 ha and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust does not control the shooting rights to this reserve - before visiting check the dates when shooting will be taking place.
Launde Park Wood extends over 57 ha. The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust does not control the shooting rights to this reserve - before visiting check the dates when shooting will be taking place.

This 12 hectare site is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a nature reserve owned by the Wild Trust. Lea Meadows has a history that can be traced back seven centuries and was once part of a mediaeval assart (private land taken from common land). The other part of the assart is the adjacent Lea Wood and together they form an intriguing oval shape on the map. It is mainly an undulating wildflower meadow with some marshy areas and is bisected by a stream.

Loughborough Big Meadow covers 35.3 ha and is owned by the Wildlife Trust and is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The whole meadow is subject to complex commoner's rights dating back to at least 1762 and is one of the few Lammas meadows left in England. 
The reserve is owned by Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, who lease it to the Wildlife Trust. It covers 1.5 ha and has been declared a Local Nature Reserve.