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.
Only two miles away from the City centre, Evington Park has the tranquil atmosphere of the country estate it once was. The 44 acres of parkland includes meadow areas, ponds and a wide variety of trees. The land was purchased by Leicester City Council and opened as a park in 1948. A Bioblitz was held on 25-26th May 2012 to record as many species as possible over a 24 hour period.
This large reservoir straddles the border between Leicestershire and Rutland. Access is limited but good views of the inflow end are available from the road and this is where most of the birds are. It is an excellent bird watching area and has produced a number of unusual species. The reservoir has a famous history as it was the test area for the revolutionary 'bouncing bomb' used in the Dambuster raids during World Word II. It was built between 1937 and 1940 by damming the Eye Brook and the site now covers around 200 hectares (150ha of open water).
Feanedock and Boothorpe are new woodlands planted on former farmland in the Ashby Woulds, both sites are owned by the National Forest Company. The neighbouring Mayberry Wood and Rawdon East Wood are examples of reclaimed habitats on former coal mining sites.
This is a wide belt of mature woodland running along the western edge of an old golf course. Fishley Belt appears on maps going back to the nineteenth century and is if not the best, certainly one of the best examples of ancient woodland in Blaby District. In spring it is awash with native Bluebells and other wildflowers which are generally only found where woodland has not been disturbed for centuries. Covered by a blanket TPO
In 2004 Fishpond Plantation was bought by the Parish Council on behalf of the village with villagers’ donations and grants from Leicestershire County Council and Charnwood Borough Council. The Plantation is close to the centre of the village and covers 1.6 hectares; all that remains of a larger wood. There has been woodland here for at least 300 years, probably due to the area being quarried for gypsum and then being unsuitable for agriculture.
This drainage feature provides damp grassland habitat for most of the year, with standing water at times after rain. The basin supports wetland plants such as Reedmace and Great Willowherb with drier grassland around the edges. It is accessible directly from the A50 and is adjacent to the Glenfield Wildflower Meadow.
This site of approximately 20 acres was opened in 1993 with extensive grassland, woodland, ponds and a small lake with a bird hide. The areas of woodland are maturing well now and the whole site supports a rich diversity supporting good populations of birds and insects.
This area had been fields up until the late 1930s when new housing development started. However, as war was imminent no further house building took place and the field was turned over to the Ministry of Food. After the war the field was acquired by Leicester City Council for allotments. Part of the allotments were sold to the Town Council in the 1970s and converted into Franklin Park, all the existing hedges were retained.
Franklin Park Community Orchard was created in 2007 when Leicester City Council sold off 1.1 hectares of disused allotment space. This has now been converted to a Community orchard, a wild flower meadow, a pond and two separate wild life areas. The site is only open at specific times of year in order to protect the wildlife that lives there.
Glen Parva Local Nature Reserve covers 27 acres and was officially opened on 17th November 2010. The site is close to the Grand Union Canal and contains unimproved grassland habitat which is part of what was once a country-wide network of hay meadows and unimproved pasture.
This site was once part of a larger sports field which included Glenfield Wildflower Meadow across the A50. When the site was divided by the road improvement new sports fields were established and both sites adopted as public open space. Millennium Green is managed by a trust and includes play areas as well as some natural planting to encourage wildlife. It includes a small raised sensory garden
This large field is managed mainly as a wildflower meadow, with an annual mow and the removal of the cuttings as is good practice. A number of tree/scrub areas have been planted, including and a few non-native species, to diversify the habitat and provide additional interest. A scrape in the north-east corner provides a damper habitat, though it doesn't hold water all year round. Just outside the entrance gate and alongside the A50 is an urban drainage pond that also provides interesting wetland habitat.
Old maps indicate some gold diggings in this vicinity but this large elongated mound was created with surplus soils from the Manor Farm development some 30 years ago, Left untended it has become a tangled mass of shrubs, brambles and some trees and is an impenetrable wildlife haven straddling the border with the city.
The area around the ruins of Grace Dieu Priory are very varied and offer rich and diverse habitats for wildlife. Meadows, ponds, streams, a disused quarry and extensive woodland present a fascinating landscape which has revealed many surprising plants and animals. The area is now managed as public open space (except the old quarry) and there is no charge for entry.
This central part of the Grantham Canal stretches for 5 miles from Harby eastwards through Plungar and Barkestone-le-Vale to Redmile. A Site of Special Scientific Interest covers most of this section stretching from Rectory Bridge, Harby (bridge no.44) to Redmile Mill Bridge (no.53). The Canal opened in 1797 and was closed to boat traffic in 1929. After several decades of public ownership the management of the Canal passed from British Waterways to the newly formed Canal and River Trust in 2012.