Astill Lodge Park
Selected Wild Place / Other Wild Places / Public Rights of Way / VC55 boundary
Access onto the site can be gained from Bennion Road, Osprey Road and Stone Close. There is a good bus service to Beaumont Leys and nearby Astill Park Road shops from where it is a short distance to walk to this park.
Total species seen at this site: 77
Astill Lodge Park and Spinney is one of the smaller areas of Open Space found in Leicester and covers approximately 4.6 ha. Although used historically for hunting deer, then grazing sheep as part of the much larger Beaumont Estate, the site has had a mixed history. In 1890 it formed part of the Beaumont Leys Sewerage system, but then reverted to farmland with the small spinney planted in the early 1900s and extended in 1916 to the boundary still in place today. In the 1970s the site was used as a domestic refuse site with parts of the old Astill Lodge farms knocked down and debris spread over the site. The main part of the Park was created in 1984 following the closure of the site as a domestic refuse tip. A soil cap was put in place and the area re-landscaped to provide areas of amenity open space and access for cyclists and walkers.
The site contains areas of relatively species-rich and rough grassland, hedgerows, scrub and field pond. The mature woodland to the south boundary is easily accessed and has a desire line footpath running through the centre.
The park is an important area for wildlife as it has a good range of habitats present in a compact area. The grassland is relatively species-rich which in turn attracts a range of invertebrates, particularly butterflies in the spring and summer.
The pond is a good size and well-vegetated with emergent and aquatic vegetation, but has an area of open water retained to attract dragonflies and damselflies. The pond rarely, if ever dries out and appears to be fed by a local spring which over-flows in early spring and so is important for amphibians and waterfowl with locally nesting moorhen and mallards seen regularly.
The scrub areas support important populations of roosting starlings and other hedgerow birds which in early spring provide a constant chatter as they seek our nesting sites.
The Spinney is mainly mature Oak and Ash with some under-storey hazel, hawthorn and elder.
The records and images below may include those from adjacent sites if the grid reference submitted with these records overlaps the boundary of this Wild Place.