Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood

    Getting There

    Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood lies in the heart of the National Forest in north-west Leicestershire, 15 miles from Leicester, four miles from Ashby de la Zouch, seven miles from Coalville, and close to the village of Normanton le Heath. The nearest postcode is LE67 2TD which brings you to Heather Lane. The entrance is located halfway down the lane.

    Managed By
    The site is owned and managed by the Woodland Trust.
    Wild places

    Total species seen at this site: 162

    Description

    This site was created in 2012 by the Woodland Trust. It covers 186 hectares (460 acres) and is the centre-piece of a wide-ranging Jubilee Project carried out by The Woodland Trust to mark the 2012 Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The site incorporates a former opencast coal mine which now has a newly created lake, as well as former arable land and 7 hectares (17 acres) of existing ancient woodland and old hedgerows. It is situated between the villages of Normanton le Heath, Heather and Ravenstone, and close to Coalville and Ashby de la Zouch,  and is in the middle of the National Forest.

    Wildlife Highlights

    Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood was created by the planting of 300,000 native broadleaved trees over three years between 2012 and 2015. Species planted include oak, field maple, silver birch, beech and hornbeam, but no ash due to ash die back. However, there is some natural ash regeneration in parts of the site. Where there are remnants of the open-cast mining infrastructure, these areas have been cleared and planted with silver birch and common alder. Two areas of woodland existed prior to our purchase of the site. The first, adjacent to School Lane, is a small plantation of mixed broadleaves planted approximately 20 years ago. The other, larger block at 6.47 hectares is Normanton Wood at the northern end of the site which is predominantly ancient woodland containing a variety of native broadleaf species, including oak, ash, birch, rowan and elder.

    In Normanton Wood, plant species indicative of ancient woodland includes bluebell, wood anemone, wood sorrel, dog’s mercury and yellow archangel.  The newly-planted woodland is less diverse but includes common species such as woundwort and umbellifers such as cow parsley. The lake has some marginal vegetation, including bull rush and yellow iris. The land to the east of the lake is maintained as a wetland area for the benefit of wildlife, particularly birds. There are a variety of wetland, farmland and woodland birds here including barn owl, tawny owl, field fare (in the winter), lapwing, sky larks, yellow hammer, bull finch, blackbirds, great tits, blue tits, greater spotted woodpecker, buzzards, mute swan, little grebe, tufted duck, terns and mallards. The site has already become known among birders locally with some interesting species found on site. There have been curlews nesting and breeding here, while whooper swans, a migratory species that over-winters in the UK, have been spotted on the lake. Hen harriers have over-wintered in the conservation area behind the lake. Ground-nesting birds such as skylarks can be found in the open areas, while butterflies and insects are abundant in existing woodland and nearby clearings.

    Further Information