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.

This Wildlife Trust reserve was glebe land, and is mainly unimproved grazing, with the exception of the south eastern corner, which has been top-dressed at some time in the past. The River Soar runs northwards and eastwards across the reserve, and was excluded from the improvement when much of the upper Soar was deepened and canalised in the early 1970s. Habitats include running water, river bank, and neutral and siliceous (sandy) grassland.

This reserve is partly in Derbyshire and partly in Leicestershire, and is owned by Severn Trent Water and managed by the Wildlife Trust. It covers 23.5 ha and is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The woodland park is managed by Leicestershire County Council on the site of the former Donisthorpe Colliery that closed in 1990. The site has been planted with oak/ash woodland, poplars and Corsican pine. Stone surfaced paths take you around the site and link with the towpath of the restored section of the Ashby Canal that leads to the Moira Furnace.

Donkey Lane in Sapcote is a short unmade road which runs from the Bassett Lane Cemetery for a few hundred yards.  The wide verges of lush vegetation and high hedges either side encourage a rich insect population typical of woodland edge, and at the end of the lane is a small copse with Aspen amongst other species.  Having reached the small copse area anyone wishing to extend their walk can follow public footpaths into the fields in two directions.

Until 2015 this site was a piece of regularly mown amenity grassland which formed part of the former John Ellis School site (the school was demolished in the early 1990s).
The area was identified as part of a strategic flood alleviation scheme with works planned along the River Soar to improve flood storage during storm events.  Fortunately both the Environment Agency and City Council sought to implement Blue-Green techniques for flood storage rather than rely on traditional engineering methods that could have resulted in high walls and hard infrastructure.

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.

Fludes Lane is a linear semi-natural broadleaved woodland site, connecting Oadby to the wider countryside. A path runs the length of Fludes Lane, following the course of the Washbrook; it is hard surfaced from the A6 entrance up to Severn Road and then forms a natural woodland track leading to footpaths to Great Stretton and Stoughton.

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.

Gilroes Cemetery is Leicester's largest municipal cemetery. Opened in 1902, it contains Leicester's main crematorium. The site contains many mature trees, shrubs and wide pathways.  It forms part of Leicester’s green wedge and is well connected to surrounding Local Nature Reserves and Local Wildlife Sites.
The site has recently been extended to the north-east which provides an open expanse of grassland which has been seeded with native neutral meadow wildflowers and which is separated by mature hedgerows and field ponds. 

The former brick quarry was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1981.  It is one of the smallest SSSIs in Leicestershire and is designated for its geological importance (Gypsum quarry made up of mudstones and dolomitic limestone with rich sulphide minerals).

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 is now a mature woodland with figure of eight paths through it sometimes muddy. Some of the trees were planted as memorial trees. There is a sizeable pond in the south-west corner.

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