Attenborough Arboretum

    Map key:

    • Selected Wild Place = PINK
    • Other Wild Places = RED
    • Public Rights of Way = GREEN
    • VC55 boundary = BLUE
    Getting There

    The Attenborough Arboretum entrance is on Carisbrooke Road in Knighton, where there is a car park. However, the gate is normally locked, and access is now via College Court on Knighton Road.

    The Arriva Midlands 44 and 44A buses run past the Arboretum.  Travelling from the city centre, get off at the last stop on Queen's Road and walk round the corner onto Knighton Road or at the first stop on Carisbrooke Road and walk back onto Knighton Road.

    All main paths are wheelchair accessible.

    Managed By
    Leicester University
    Wild places

    Total species seen at this site: 264


    The Attenborough Arboretum site occupies about five acres and forms part of the land that used to belong to Home Farm.  (The old farm house still exists nearby and has been converted into maisonettes.)  The arboretum features possibly the only surviving example in the city of a mediaeval ridge-and-furrow field and also contains two large ponds.  The arboretum was opened on 23rd April 1997.  About 20 local schools helped in the planting phase in March 1996, and over 40 attended the grand opening ceremony, conducted by Sir David Attenborough, after whose family the arboretum is named.

    The planting scheme at the arboretum is designed to display our native trees more or less in the sequence in which they arrived in this country following the ending of the last ice-age, approximately 10,000 years ago.  Thus among the first trees you will meet on going for a walk around the arboretum will be Scots Pine, Juniper, Hazel and Birch; among the last is the Beech, which apparently crossed from France just before the English Channel formed about 7,500 years ago.  The timing of the various arrivals is based largely on fossil evidence, especially of pollen.

    Wildlife Highlights

    The site is an old one on which the present planting scheme has been imposed; not all the trees in the arboretum are natives.  The collection is augmented by many mature alien species, in particular the Horse Chestnut, which is indigenous to south-eastern Europe, but which had been introduced to Britain by the early 17th century.
    The large ponds support good populations of common amphibians and are designated as Local Wildlife Site because of this.  The ridge and furrow is not particularly species-rich and has been semi-improved in the past.  The grassland does contain some marshy areas that may result from natural spring-lines and which encourage some diversity.
    With the mosaic of habitats in this small area of the city, the site teems with bird song in early spring and is a good place to birdwatch.

    Further Information

    Opening times are 9.30 to 3.30 Monday to Thursday, 9.30 to 3.00 Friday.

    Closed Saturday and Sunday.

    Guided tours can be arranged through Leicester Botanic Garden, 0116 2712933,

    Group Common name Latin name Last seen
    Algae, Bacteria, VirusTrentepohlia sp.27/01/2017
    AmphibiansSmooth NewtLissotriton vulgaris08/03/2017
    AmphibiansCommon FrogRana temporaria15/03/2018
    Bees, Wasps, AntsRam's-horn Gall WaspAndricus aries17/08/2018
    Bees, Wasps, AntsAndricus curvator17/08/2018
    Bees, Wasps, AntsKnopper Oak Gall WaspAndricus quercuscalicis25/07/2018
    Bees, Wasps, AntsHairy-footed Flower BeeAnthophora plumipes10/03/2014
    Bees, Wasps, AntsHoney BeeApis mellifera27/07/2017
    Bees, Wasps, AntsTree BumblebeeBombus hypnorum28/05/2015
    Bees, Wasps, AntsRed-tailed BumblebeeBombus lapidarius24/06/2015
    Bees, Wasps, AntsCommon Carder BumblebeeBombus pascuorum12/07/2018
    Bees, Wasps, AntsHill Cuckoo BeeBombus rupestris31/07/2017
    Bees, Wasps, AntsFour Coloured Cuckoo BeeBombus sylvestris28/07/2017
    Bees, Wasps, AntsBuff-tailed BumblebeeBombus terrestris09/01/2015
    Bees, Wasps, AntsOyster Gall WaspNeuroterus anthracinus17/08/2018
    Bees, Wasps, AntsSpangle Gall WaspNeuroterus quercusbaccarum28/07/2017
    Bees, Wasps, AntsCommon WaspVespula vulgaris09/07/2018
    Beetles10 Spot LadybirdAdalia decempunctata17/08/2018
    BeetlesCream Spot LadybirdCalvia quattuordecimguttata20/04/2015
    Beetles7 Spot LadybirdCoccinella septempunctata09/07/2018
    BeetlesLesser Stag BeetleDorcus parallelipipedus27/07/2017
    BeetlesPine LadybirdExochomus quadripustulatus10/03/2015
    BeetlesHarlequin LadybirdHarmonia axyridis14/04/2015
    BeetlesNebria brevicollis30/05/2019
    BeetlesBlack Clock BeetlePterostichus madidus22/04/2019
    BeetlesCommon Red Soldier BeetleRhagonycha fulva09/07/2018
    BeetlesRhinocyllus conicus16/06/2015
    BeetlesStenocorus meridianus09/07/2015
    BirdsLong-tailed TitAegithalos caudatus09/03/2015
    BirdsMallardAnas platyrhynchos01/06/2017