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.
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.
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.
This 12.6 hectare nature reserve contains a mosaic of valuable wetland habitats including wet woodland, shallow pools, wet grassland and marsh. It was purchased by the Wildlife Trust in 2006 and the main habitat creation work was completed in the autumn of 2007.
Narborough Bog is a compact site offering a mosaic of different habitats including reedbed, damp woodland, riverbank and unimproved meadow. It contains Leicestershire's largest remaining peat deposits. Although the reedbed has suffered from drying out and invasion by Meadowsweet in recent years, remedial efforts by the LRWT are now bringing it back to its former state.
This small but interesting nature reserve is a former brownfield site and is trapped between the Coalville ringroad and a mineral railway line. It has a number of ponds, scrub and low fertility grassland. The largest pond was created by mining subsidence and now has a boardwalk allowing access to the water's edge.
New Lount Nature Reserve is a 19.5 hectare mixed reserve of species-rich grassland, ponds, plantation woodland and scrub within The National Forest. The site, which was designated a statutory Local Nature Reserve in 1995, sits on the site of the former New Lount colliery.
Hicks Lodge and Newfields are former coal mining sites that have been totally transformed by landscape reclamation projects. Along with Shellbrook Wood and surrounding areas, these sites offer some of the most ecologically interesting habitats found within the Heart of the National Forest.
This linear site follows the route of a small stream and hedge. The waterway is overgrown during summer but lies at the bottom of the steep ditch. At the southern end it links with the mature woodland of Fishley Belt and the new Optimus Nature Area. There is a mown grass permissive path. The northern end is at Optimus Way where the route continues as a gravel surfaced permissive cycleway (Roman Way) going to Brookside Meadows and beyond and taking in the Kirby Road Ponds area.