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 western part of the Grantham Canal in Leics stretches 2.5 miles from the county boundary at the River Smite aqueduct north of Long Clawson, eastwards past Hose, to Harby. The Grantham Canal was built to supply coal to Grantham and runs from the River Trent in Nottingham for 33 miles to Grantham. The Canal was opened in 1797 and closed to traffic in 1929.

Forming the eastern section of the Grantham Canal in Leics this site stretches nearly 4 miles from Redmile eastwards to the county boundary south of Muston. The Canal was built to supply coal to Grantham and runs from the River Trent in Nottingham for 33 miles to Grantham. It opened in 1797 and closed to traffic in 1929.

The wood, which covers 12 ha, is owned by the Wildlife Trust and is part of the Eye Brook Valley Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

These three woodlands make up an area of mixed aged trees, hedgerows, grasslands and open space.  Gresley Wood is a 42 hectare site with a history of farming and opencast mining. Tunnel Woods is community woodland and both of these sites are owned by the Forestry Commission. The neighbouring Princess Diana Wood is a developing woodland with excellent access and is owned by the National Forest Charitable Trust.

Groby Pool is situated on the southern edge of the Charnwood Forest and is reputedly the largest natural expanse of open water in Leicestershire, covering 38 acres (15 ha). There was no mention of a lake in the Domesday Book, though it has been referred to since 1297. Research into the Lake sediments has confirmed that Groby Pool is of relatively recent origin. It may have resulted from the damming of Slate Brook in the 12th/13th century by the monks from Leicester abbey.

This area was created by Blaby District Council and constitutes a large grassland area surrounded by mature hedges and trees.

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).

This area lies at the centre of the 200 square mile National Forest. Formerly coalfields it has been transformed into an attractive, wooded landscape. The Black to Green project, run jointly by the National Forest and the Wildlife Trust, is working to engage the local community in managing this area and recording the wildlife on its many sites.

Highway Spinney is a semi-natural woodland and was designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) in 1999. It lies at the edge of Leicester and is separated from its sister woodland, Meynell's Gorse, by Hinckley Road. Conservation work is undertaken by the Friends of Highway Spinney, supported by Groundwork Leicester and Leicestershire.

This old granite quarry is now managed as a nature reserve. Part of the site is flooded and this is securely fenced off. It is one of the highest points in Leicestershire and offers good view across Markfield and towards Leicester. Its developed was funded by Leicestershire County Council FLAG and Shire Grants and National Forest tree planting grants.

The area south east of Holwell village was originally mined for building stone. There is evidence to suggest that Brown’s Hill Quarry was in existence by 1815. Ironstone was first quarried from the area by the Stanton Ironworks company from 1879 until 1881. Mining resumed in 1918 and continued until 1933 when the company began to work the mine with galleries based on the pillar-and-stall method. Open cast working was reinstated at the quarry between 1953 and 1957 when exploitation ceased.

Humberstone Park was opened in 1925 and covers 20 acres. The Bushby Brook and old Great Northern Railway embankment have been incorporated into the park to create havens for wildlife.

This stretch of disused railway line runs between Ratby and Glenfield. Though the original line is broken by an industrial estate a connecting path joins up the two parts. For most of its length it runs parallel with the Rothley Brook and the section that flows under the motorway is included in this site. Much of it is shaded by overhanging trees but in places there is a grassy flora and the bordering field margins add further interest.

Part of the long distance footpath as it passes through Glenfield. It starts at Station Road (Railway pub) and follows the old railway, running alongside Rothley Brook. The embankment slopes and brook's edges are well wooded creating a wonderful wildlife corridor. Just south of Barrow Lane if you look over to the brook you see the wildest stretch of this rivulet abounding with wildlife including kingfishers. Beyond the brook is open farmland and remains of an old watermill.

Prestop Park is a 26 ha site comprising of broadleaved and conifer trees along with a small wetland area. The neighbouring John’s Wood is 35 ha containing extensive areas of poplar, grasslands and a newly created pond.

The Jubilee Walk is a beautiful and serene walk along an old railway cutting at Leire which runs towards the golf course near Ullesthorpe.  Work by the Leire Council and volunteers ensure that this is kept clear for walkers.  It should be noted that access from the parking area is on a short slope but steps have been provided.  The cutting can be a real sun trap in warmer months, but may be quite damp and require boots or wellingtons in early spring before the ground dries out.  in 2010 more work was done to make pathways through the damper areas easier for walke

The Jubilee Way was opened in 1977, to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. This twenty-mile walk starts farther south in Leicestershire and passes through Melton Mowbray on its way northwards to the Vale of Belvoir. It ends just east of Belvoir Castle at Woolsthorpe where it links with another long distance path - the Viking Way.

This reserve covers 8.1 ha and is owned by the Wildlife Trust.

Ketton Quarry is an active limestone quarry, but the reserve is a long worked-out part of the site. It consists of hills, holes and a few rocky outcrops that have been colonised by a wide range of calcareous limestone plants. Parts of the site have become scrubbed over and there is a planted beech wood. The reserve is leased by the Wildlife Trust from Castle Cement and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

This site comprises a number of ponds and ditches created as as extensive urban drainage scheme. It has been colonised by a wide range of wetland plants and now provides excellent habitat.