Selected Wild Place / Other Wild Places / Public Rights of Way / VC55 boundary
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Total species seen at this site: 289
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.
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.
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.