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.

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.

Kirby Frith Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is the last (and fortunately probably the richest) fragment of a much larger area of unimproved and semi-improved grassland.  It is adjacent to the former Western Golf-course Local Wildlife Site, and was originally part of the golf-course.  It is now surrounded on three sides by roads and industry, and is designated as public open space as well as a Local Wildlife Site.  It is managed by cut and bale with removal of arisings to retain low nutrients and encourage greater diversity.

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.

Knighton Park is a significant area of green open space at the southern boundary of the ward, where it meets with Oadby and Wigston. It contains Knighton Spinney, which is a local nature reserve, and is open to the public on some Sundays. The Saffron Brook runs through the park, and there is a pond in the Heath Garden, both of which provide habitats for a number of aquatic species. The park contains a large number of native and ornamental trees, and there is a tree trail to guide visitors round 20 interesting and significant trees.

Launde Big Wood covers 42 ha and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust does not control the shooting rights to this reserve - before visiting check the dates when shooting will be taking place.
Launde Park Wood extends over 57 ha. The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust does not control the shooting rights to this reserve - before visiting check the dates when shooting will be taking place.

This 12 hectare site is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a nature reserve owned by the Wild Trust. Lea Meadows has a history that can be traced back seven centuries and was once part of a mediaeval assart (private land taken from common land). The other part of the assart is the adjacent Lea Wood and together they form an intriguing oval shape on the map. It is mainly an undulating wildflower meadow with some marshy areas and is bisected by a stream.

Loughborough Big Meadow covers 35.3 ha and is owned by the Wildlife Trust and is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The whole meadow is subject to complex commoner's rights dating back to at least 1762 and is one of the few Lammas meadows left in England. 
The reserve is owned by Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, who lease it to the Wildlife Trust. It covers 1.5 ha and has been declared a Local Nature Reserve.
Located close to the village of the same name, Lyddington Meadow covers 1.3 hectares (3.2 acres) of semi-improved grassland, subject to occasional flooding. The plants species found, such as great burnet and meadow foxtail, are typical of grassland in river valleys.

It might seem odd including a roundabout as one of our Wild Spaces but this one has proved to be a rich site for both flora and insects. Its proximity to nearby Freeholt Wood and Burbage Wood, and the fact that it is surrounded by trees and bushes, help to encourage a rich woodland edge insect population.

This damp area is typified by short sedges and rushes. It runs along the edge of two fields with a footpath leading from the old Fosse road and following the edge of the site. The hedges bordering this area have a good variety of willows, including the uncommon White Welsh Willow, whilst the marsh conditions also offer the opportunity to encounter those insects that prefer these habitat conditions. It is only truely 'marshy' at the wettest times but walking can be difficult and boots or wellingtons are recommended.

Martinshaw Wood is an excellent site for invertebrates and fungi. It has had a troubled past but is today protected and managed by the Woodland Trust. The Wood has ancient origins and has been managed since at least the 13th century as part of the estate of Lords of the Manor of Groby. In the 19th century it was planted with North American conifers and was sold in 1925 and clear-felled for its timber. It then naturally recolonised but during the second World War was clear-felled again.

Melton Country Park covers a 140-acre site with the Scalford Brook Flood Storage Reservoir at the centre. This reservoir was constructed in the early 1990’s to reduce the risk of flooding to properties in Melton from the Scalford Brook. It was designed by Severn Trent Water and built by Melton Borough Council. Since 1996 it has been operated and maintained by the Environment Agency. The dam is designed to cope with a 1 in a 100 year, flood.

This is a recent (1990’s) extension to Mossdale Meadows. This extension was given to the Town Council by the developers of the Meridian Leisure Complex having stripped the area of the top soil / overburden to reveal a large blue clay area. This has been excavated and used to seal the area of the Meridian Leisure complex which formally was a sewage treatment works built in the 1920’s.

This nature reserve covers 12.6 hectares and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It represents an island of unimproved grassland amidst arable or improved ley grass. It has not received any artificial fertilisers or herbicides and is grazed by sheep or cattle and cut for hay.As well as the dry, unimproved grassland, the site has four field ponds several hedges. It supports a fine array of wildflowers, including orchids, with common and great crested newts in the ponds.