Wild places

    This page enables you to search for some of the best places to see wildlife in Leicestershire and Rutland. It's not comprehensive but we will keep adding new sites as we get records and images. If you have a favourite site that you would like to see added, let us know.
    You can:

    • click on the sites on the map below to find their details,
    • use the filters below to find sites in your district or parish,
    • type any part of the site name to search for a particular site.

    Just click on APPLY when you have entered your selection. Alternatively you can browse the full list below.

    This 8 acre site at Six Hills is owned by the Duke of Somerset and is part of a large area of common land known as Burton Common. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and was, until 2010, managed as a reserve by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. A public footpath runs through the middle of the site. It has a mosaic of grassland, scrub and woodland - standing on poorly drained acid soil.

    Abbey Park is Leicester’s premier park and lies approximately one mile north of the City centre. The River Soar divides this beautiful park into two distinct areas: to the east of the river lies the highly decorative Victorian part of the park with its evergreen shrubberies, trees, lakes and formally planted flower displays and to the west of the river lies the fascinating Abbey Grounds. Within this area are the remains of the twelfth century Leicester Abbey and the ruins of Cavendish House, a seventeenth century mansion.

    An ancient woodland covering 14 ha (also known as Adder Wood) to the north of Clipsham and near to the quarry, however it was clear-felled and planted with conifers by 1960. Formerly it was a species-rich Ash-Maple wood on calcareous clay.

    Alistairs Wood is a mixture of new plantation, comprising mainly native broadleaf trees. It also has open meadow and grazed land. In the centre is a SSSI, designated for the acidic grassland community.

    This area contains two very different sites, Albert Village Lake which includes a large expanse of open water excellent for a wide range of notable birds and Pick Triangle, an attractive 30 hectare young woodland. Both sites have been created on land reclaimed after coal and clay extraction.

    The site is a rocky hill with rough heath grassland, stone walls and rocky outcrops. It combines the former Altar Stones Country Park with the adjacent Blacksmith's Field (named after the blacksmith's shop that was located on the corner of the site.

    Secondary woodland and plantation on Mercia Mudstone with bands of sandstone, covering 36 ha.

    The wood is situated along the northern shoreline of the Hambleton peninsular. This is ancient woodland but much reduced in size due to construction of Rutland Water and now only covering around 6 ha. In the Middle Ages it was part of Barnsdale deer park. The wood is of the Ash-Hazel type and lies on on Upper Lias clay.

    This is an old industrial site, comprised of a sandy soil which is the result of the historic dumping of waste materials from the nearby steel works. It is a mosaic of wildflower-rich grassland and scrub.

    The canal was opened in 1804 with the purpose of servicing the Leicestershire coalfield, but by the 1830s its industrial use was in decline. Originally extending as far north as Moira, the canal suffered mining subsidence resulting in the draining, in 1944 and again in 1957 and 1966, of successive lengths of the northernmost 10 km (6 miles). Much of this stretch was subsequently filled with pulverized fuel ash.

    The canal was opened in 1804 with the purpose of servicing the Leicestershire coalfield, but by the 1830s its industrial use was in decline. Originally extending as far north as Moira, the canal suffered mining subsidence resulting in the draining, in 1944 and again in 1957 and 1966, of successive lengths of the northernmost 10 km (6 miles). Much of this stretch was subsequently filled with pulverized fuel ash.

    This group of reclaimed greenspaces includes 5 very different sites covering a wide area of land formally used for heavy industry.  This section of the Ashby Woulds Trail links the sites together and includes Sarah’s Wood which was planted in 1995 with designed for access for all, and the Moira Furnace Industrial Heritage site.

    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 sprea

    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.

    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.

    Less than a mile south of Bagworth, towards Merry Lees and Desford, this 75 hectare (185 acre) Country Park has been tranformed from scarred industrial landscape of Desford Colliery into a valuable recreational resource. Owned and managed by Leicestershire County Council Bagworth Heath Woods are made up of woodland, grassland, heathland, lakes and ponds.

    This wood lies to the north-west of Bagworth village. The 26ha wood was a National Forest Company Tender Scheme winner in 2000. The woodland is predominantly a commercial poplar crop with woody shrubs to add diversity and wildlife habitat.  A large area of wetland has been retained.  Groups of native Black Poplar have been planted in the wetter areas by the pond.

    A permissive riding route has been created around the perimeter of part of the site and a new dedicated footpath links existing Rights of Way across the site to those to the west.

    Bardon Hill, near Coalville, is the highest point in Leicestershire, 278 metres (912 feet) above sea level. The hill has two very distinct faces – one half preserved as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the other removed by Bardon Hill Quarry. It is also the site of a radio mast. Though it is the highest point in Leicestershire, it is easy to get to the top and the summit offers tremendous views across the county plus a dramatic vista over the adjacent quarry.

    This ancient woodland covering 28 ha and is part of the Rutland Water SSSI. The wood is situated on Upper Lias clay and formerly lay within a Medieval deer park. It was partly destroyed through construction of the reservoir. It is a neglected coppice of the Peterken Ash-Maple, Ash-Hazel, Pedunculate Oak-Hazel and Invasive Elm types but has been partly planted with conifers.