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 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.

Bradgate Park is Leicestershire’s most popular park. Located in Charnwood Forest just northwest of Leicester it covers 850 acres (3 km²). The River Lin runs through it, flowing into Cropston Reservoir which was constructed on part of the park. The landscape is rocky moorland with a covering of coarse grass and bracken.

The 168 acres of Braunstone Park are a reminder of Braunstone’s pastoral heritage with large areas of well-established open parkland, woodlands spinneys and meadows.

Brocks Hill Country Park was opened in 1999 and covers 67 acres, containing young broadleaved plantation woodland, orchards, hedgerows, ponds, meadows and a medieval ridge and furrow field, with a network of accessible paths. Some of the grasslands have been in existence since the country park was previously farmland, however, the newer wildflower meadows also contain a range of species. The combination of habitats and garden areas make Brocks Hill a biodiverse urban-fringe site. Lucas Marsh, a Wildlife Trust nature reserve, adjoins the park.

This site was established as a nature area in 2017 following the development of the adjacent commercial units. A new permissive cycleway now crosses the site with a bridge over Rothley Brook to connect to the footpath and cycle way running along the old line of the  Leicester and Swannington Railway. This was one of England's first railways, being opened in 1832 to bring coal from collieries. There are also mown grass paths.

The majority of the church grounds are grassed and subject to mowing but an area at the back of the church supports a number of mature trees with a small patch of open ground in the centre. This area is being nurtured to become a wildlife area and work is ongoing to enhance the existing planting and making wildlife features to encourage wildlife onto the site.

This 80 hectare site is a country park with a visitor centre and a network or well-marked paths. It has extensive mature woodland, unimproved grassland and a number of other features such as ponds and streams.

This quiet country lane offers a lovely walk into the National Forest, with rolling hills, new woodland and a historic landscape around you. The lane only offers access to a few houses but there is a very small car park at Burroughs Wood. At the end of the lane there is a tarmac cycle path that weaves its way to Thornton Reservoir. It is just possible to glimpse Bury Camp, a large Iron Age settlement, now on private land about 150 metres from the road. 

Ratby Burroughs is in two parts: the southern part of fairly new plantations and the northern part, ancient woodlands with carpets of wood anemones and bluebells during the season. Both are part of the New National Forest.

Castle Gardens is a green oasis close to the City centre in Leicester.  It is located in the historic “Castle Park” area with the River Soar forming a natural boundary on the west and the old Courthouse and St Mary de Castro church to the East (note that access to the churchyard is restricted).

The Gardens contain many specimen trees, shrubs and seasonal planting whilst the Castle motte has more natural vegetation and mature trees with fine views from the top.

 

The park was established in 1985 and comprises of approximately 104 ha of mainly improved grassland and plantation woodland which are located between Beaumont Leys and the village of Anstey.  The A46 Western Bypass divides the park into two linear sections with the Rothley Brook forming the western boundary.

This small fragment of ancient wood was extended by the Woodland Trust (sometimes called Hollow Oak Wood). It lies on a traditional walk route referred to as the 'Ratby Change' with a public footpath running through it.

This reserve is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and covers 26.8 ha. The display of bluebells in Burrow Wood in the spring is an impressive sight  and it also has a great variety of dead wood habitats, from standing dead trees to rotting fallen trees and branches, which are important for insects.

The reserve is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and covers 193.5 ha. Most of the reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and part was declared a National Nature Reserve in 2000. Note that significant areas of this important and sensitive nature reserve have no public access. Other areas have limited access to LRWT members and other permit holders only.

This is a large block of land between Ratby Lane and the M1 which has been re-landscaped as part of the Wilson Bowden development project. A right of way follows an attractive line through this area. It is a long lozenge of land on which surplus soils have been piled to make substantial hills. They are split  by Kirby Brook and the area is being landscaped and planted up.The path will eventually link the footpaths round the old golf course to the Ivanhoe Way and Brookside Meadow and the wider countryside beyond including the National Forest.

This 33 hectare site is ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It stands on Keuper Marl and Boulder Clay and is one of the most floristically rich sites in the county. In the past it was a larger site standing on Carboniferous Limestone but this has since been quarried out. The woodland was clear-felled around the time of World War II but was allowed to regenerate naturally. It was donated to the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in 1993 by Ennstone Breedon plc. The Trust has now reinstigated coppice management in parts of the site.

This site includes 120 acres of young woodland in amongst a popular nature discovery centre. The National Forest Charitable Trust is the Trust that owns Conkers has the wider objective of reclaiming derelict industrial landscapes, planting trees, creating recreational forests and parkland for the local and regional communities. 

A linear walk along a disused former railway line. 

Cossington Meadows covers 86 ha and is the largest of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust's six nature reserves in the Soar valley. The area was quarried for gravel during the 1980s and 1990s, the pits then being filled and the area relandscaped, with several deep holes in the north of the site filling with water to form lakes. The Trust has created new wader scrapes and grazes the grassland areas.

This is a private site - the offices and grounds of Leicestershire County Council. Though we usually only include sites with public access, we have included it partly because over 2,500 staff have access to the area and also because the grounds include areas of notable wildlife interest.