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 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. 

    Traditional meadows across several fields, bounded by tall hedges. Parts of the reserve are wet which brings a greater diversity of plants.

    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.

    Ancient woodland covering 43.2 hectares, though largely planted with conifers. The wood lies just to the east of Cottesmore.

    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.

    Mixed habitat including some 4 hectares of deciduous woodland with areas of open grassland leading onto  approximately 1 hectare of the Flood Retention area to the west. Sketchley Brook flows along the full southern length of the site plus an additional inflow from the north feeding the permanent wetland, sloping from north to south.

    This reserve covers 5 ha and is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Trust. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve. 

    This Woodland Trust woodland is just under 4 hectares and comprises a mixture of parkland and wooded areas, with a number of mature trees as well as the newly planted areas. It is located on the west of Croft village and sits between two other excellent wildlife sites - Croft Quarry and Croft Pasture.It was formerly the village cricket pitch.

    Croft Hill stands 128m high in a largely flat area of Leicestershire. The Hill provides a number of habitats including broad-leaved woodland, scrub land, acidic grassland and two other distinct areas of grassland.

    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.

    David Taylor Wood is a very small young woodland, planted with native broadleaf species: Wild Cherry, Oak, Hazel and Ash interspersed with Field Maple and Hawthorn.

    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.

    This site is located just north of Empingham village. It contains calcareous grassland, marsh, woodland, open water, springs and streams on Upper and Lower Lincolnshire Oolitic limestone. It is a SSSI (notified for base-rich marsh and fen) and covers 14.53 ha.

    This ancient woodland covers 30 ha but now consists of only four separated fragments of the original site, the remainder having been destroyed. Some planting of broadleaves and conifers has taken place, but semi-natural stands still predominate. The geology is varied, with ironstone, acidic and calcareous clays, giving rise to both mildly acid and neutral to calcareous soils.

    This 'new' site was established as part of a planning permission and provides new cycle and pedestrian access across the River Soar and onto the Great Central Way.