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 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.

This nature reserve was created primarily for Great Crested Newts. The site has several ponds as well as areas of meadow grassland and is surrounded by mature hedges and trees bordering onto the former Western Golf Course along its eastern side. There are mown paths through it to join a right of way which takes you across  Ratby Lane into Clanfelde Hills and on beyond into the wider countryside.

It can be accessed by a bridge over the stream and ditch which down the Optimus Greenway which itself then meets the cycleways from Ratby & Groby

The Osiers Nature Area contains a mixture of grassy rides, scrub and woodland with a pond which often dries out during a warm summer.

This 141 hectare site is Leicestershire's largest semi-natural ancient woodland. It has been a Site of Special scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1956. It is managed by the Forestry Commission who are restoring the woodland to the traditional broadleaf habitat that existed centuries ago as part of the 'Ancient Woodlands Plan'. This involves removing planted conifers and allowing native trees to regenerate and eventually reintroducing coppicing.

This woodland is largely in the City of Leicester who own it as part of the old Western Golf Course site,  but it has a much older history. A right of way along the edge of the old course runs through it and there is gated access from Peartree Close in Glenfield. There are numerous small informal paths

Pickworth Great Wood is one of the largest remaining blocks of deciduous woodland in Leicestershire and Rutland and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The wood occupies an undulating hilltop site on the Rutland/Lincolnshire border and lies mainly on rich, heavy clay soils where drainage is locally impeded.

Pochin’s Bridge is a natural greenspace adjacent to a new housing development in South Wigston, situated to the north of the Grand Union Canal. It contains areas of young broadleaved plantation woodland and open grassland, adjacent to areas of woodland and scrub owned by Leicestershire County Council. 

This block of mature woodland straddles the border with the City. It is protected by a TPO and hides a pond giving a wetland habitat.

The village pond in Preston, Rutland, lies along the busy A6003 between Uppingham and Oakham. It is believed to be fed by a natural spring with an overflow pipe running beneath the road. The surrounding trees overhanging the pond have grown to reduce the light reaching the pond and are adding leaf litter which has resulted in the pond partially silting up. The parish council is intending to carry out a full refurbishment in 2019 in order to restore the pond, both as a wildlife habitat and as an attractive amenity for local people.

Woodland and hedges border the burial ground, and a meadow of primrose, cowslips and oxeye daisy has been sown and hundreds of native trees planted. Additional trees are being planted as more graves are used, to eventually create wildlife-rich woodland with flowery glades.

Priors Coppice is owned by Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, covers 29 ha and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

This nature reserve has been developed and is managed by the Leicestershire Wildfowlers Association. Most of the reserve is private (though permits can be purchased) but a public right of way runs through the site. It is a large area covering around 200 acres and comprises rough grassland, scrub and created wildflower meadows surrounding two central lakes. It is a very rich site for both birds and insects and one of the best areas for dragonflies in the two counties.

This site was created in 2012 by the Woodland Trust. It covers 186 hectares (460 acres) and is the centre-piece of a wide-ranging Jubilee Project carried out by The Woodland Trust to mark the 2012 Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The site incorporates a former opencast coal mine which now has a newly created lake, as well as former arable land and 7 hectares (17 acres) of existing ancient woodland and old hedgerows.

This is a large field owned by Jelsons Ltd but they were not allowed to develop it despite showing it as a new housing site in the late 1950’s early 60’s. The name is derived from the locals belief in the 1970’s that any purchaser, i.e. the Local Authority, would have to pay as if the land had had houses built on it!