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.
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.
The Heritage Centre's Ecology Group volunteers have created a new nature and history trail through the woodland south of Nunckley Hill. The path is a circular half mile long route that is accessed via a foot-crossing next to Nunckley Hill station platform. For disabled visitors who can’t traverse the steep path from the station platform, access is available via Swithland Lane. Please see staff in the Granite’s coffee shop who will be able to give you access. Much thought has gone into creating the path which takes in many areas of ecological and historical interest.
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
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