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 use the filters below to find sites in your district or parish, or 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several woods adjoin to make this site an extensive woodland area of significant wildlife interest. Battram Wood is a 48ha site purchased by the Royal Forestry Society with grant aid from the National Forest Company, North West Leicestershire County Council and the Rural Development Commission. Planted between 1998 and 2001, Battram Wood is intended to demonstrate best practice in managing woodland for multiple uses. Cricket bat willows will be harvested in about 20 years, followed by poplar, thereby ensuring sustainable income for the site.
At 248m, the summit of Beacon Hill Country Park is the 2nd highest in Leicestershire and boasts panoramic views across the county and beyond. The park covers 135 hectares and includes woodland, heathland, grassland, and wildflower meadows.
Belgrave Hall was built in the early 18th century, in what was then a small village three miles from the City of Leicester. John Throsby described the Hall in his ‘Excursions in Leicestershire’ in 1790 as “a neat little box in the midst of Flora’s pleasure”. The formal gardens are protected by high red brick walls which shelter a variety of shrubs and climbers, including a magnificent Wisteria sinensis, reputed planted by John Ellis in 1860.
This 20 hectare local nature reserve, located in the north of the borough of Hinckley and Bosworth, consists of a variety of habitats including acid grassland, which is ecologically significant at a local level. Additionally, there are a number of rocky outcrops of Markfieldite, making the hill a regionally important geological site. The site consists of formerly improved pasture, surrounding a small hilltop plantation, dating from the late 1800's/early 1900's, and a small quarry.
This site, managed by Blaby Parish Council, includes the 'old cemetery', established in the later 19th century, which is managed as a nature area. The old cemetery is particularly good for wildlife due to its mix of meadow, trees and hedgerow.
This small reserve (1.3 ha) is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Trust and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The principal habitat is the species-rich limestone grassland, which is rare in the two counties.