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.
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 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.
Goss Meadows LNR is a long narrow strip of grassland that is separated out into a number of meadows demarcated with fencing. It was an old drovers road into the city and now forms part of the more extensive green wedge on the north-western outskirts of Leicester and stretches from the bottom of Anstey Lane to the major roundabouts at Beaumont Leys.
The green network of sites adjacent to Goss Meadows adds value with the City Farm and Gilroes Cemetery located directly adjacent to the west.
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.
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.
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 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.
Heather Wood is a young broadleaved woodland planted in the early 2000s with a range of native species. Dominated by Hazel, Ash and Field Maple with mature English Oak, the trees surround large open meadows. The River Sence runs through the bottom of the woodland.
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.