The area is a good all-round site for birds and occasionally throws up something unusual during migration time. It is very rich in insect life too. Grey heron and Little egret are regularly seen along with Swift, Swallows and House martins feeding over the floodplain and occasional Skylark in the fields. Woodland, scrub and grassland mosaics provide a haven for invertebrates in these areas.
The diverse habitats range from traditional flood meadow to the south and ridge and furrow to the central section – both of which are still grazed by cattle and horses provide some refuge for relic species such as marsh marigold and spearwort (after which one of the fields is named) as well as harebell rarely found in the city. Post-industrial landscapes along the Great Central Way support Restharrow – another rarity in the city.
Field ponds dotted about support damsel and dragonflies as well as common species of amphibians and aquatic invertebrates. These ponds tend to be ephemeral and dry out over the summer.
In 2013 a bioblitz was held at Aylestone Meadows, organised by the City Council. A report of the event and the species found can be seen here.
There are several access points with free car parking. Canal Street, off Aylestone Road, provides good access to the east section at city end and Evesham Rd off Narborough Rd provides a small amount of parking by the Great Central Way to the western area. A car park at the end of Sanvey Lane in Aylestone village leads you into the more southern part.
Total species seen at this site: 744
Aylestone Meadows is the best area for wildlife within the city of Leicester. It is a sizeable green wedge along the River Soar and Grand Union Canal and is also bisected by the former Great Central Railway line - now a popular walking and cycling route. In the past, a large area of the flood meadows was used as a landfill site and today the landscaped mound is used as a sports pitch. The mixture of aquatic habitats, grazed meadows, ponds and rough grassland provides a rich and diverse habitat for much wildlife.
|Common Name||Latin Name||Date Recorded||Recorded By|
|Corizus hyoscyami||17/08/2019||David Gould|
|Common Reed||Phragmites australis||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Orange Balsam||Impatiens capensis||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Arrowhead||Sagittaria sagittifolia||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Common Water-plantain||Alisma plantago-aquatica||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Water Dock||Rumex hydrolapathum||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Brown Hawker||Aeshna grandis||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Migrant Hawker||Aeshna mixta||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Banded Demoiselle||Calopteryx splendens||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Amber Snail||Succinea putris||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Perch||Perca fluviatilis||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Roach||Rutilus rutilus||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Common Blue butterfly||Polyommatus icarus||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Speckled Wood||Pararge aegeria||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|
|Marsh Woundwort||Stachys palustris||15/08/2019||David Nicholls|