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.
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Key:Wild Places (outlined in red); Public Rights of Way (green); county boundaries (blue), parish boundaries (lilac)
Map Key: Wild Places (outlined in red); Public Rights of Way (green); VC55 boundary (blue)
The churchyard of the historic church of St Michael and All Angel's and lies in the centre of the village of Fenny Drayton. Most of the churchyard is grassland which is regularly mown and a ring of veteran Yew trees Taxas baccata encircles the boundary.
This is a wide belt of mature woodland running along the western edge of an old golf course. Fishley Belt appears on maps going back to the nineteenth century and is one of the best examples of ancient woodland in Blaby District. In spring it is awash with native Bluebells and other wildflowers. The woodland is covered by a blanket TPO.
In 2004 Fishpond Plantation was bought by the Parish Council on behalf of the village with villagers’ donations and grants from Leicestershire County Council and Charnwood Borough Council. The Plantation is close to the centre of the village and covers 1.6 hectares; all that remains of a larger wood. There has been woodland here for at least 300 years, probably due to the area being quarried for gypsum and then being unsuitable for agriculture.
This drainage feature provides damp grassland habitat for most of the year, with standing water at times after rain. The basin supports wetland plants such as Reedmace and Great Willowherb with drier grassland around the edges. It is accessible directly from the A50 and is adjacent to the Glenfield Wildlife Meadow.
Fludes Lane is a linear semi-natural broadleaved woodland site, connecting Oadby to the wider countryside. A path runs the length of Fludes Lane, following the course of the Washbrook; it is hard surfaced from the A6 entrance up to Severn Road and then forms a natural woodland track leading to footpaths to Great Stretton and Stoughton.
This site of approximately 20 acres was opened in 1993 with extensive grassland, woodland, ponds and a small lake with a bird hide. The areas of woodland are maturing well now and the whole site supports a rich diversity supporting good populations of birds and insects.
Foxton Locks is located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal about 5 km west of Market Harborough and named after the nearby village of Foxton. There are ten canal locks consisting of two "staircases" each of five locks. Alongside the locks is the Foxton Inclined Plane, built in 1900 to resolve the operational restrictions imposed by the lock flight. It was not a commercial success and only remained in full-time operation for ten years. It was dismantled in 1926 but a project to re-create it commenced in the 2000s.
This area had been fields up until the late 1930s when new housing development started. However, as war was imminent no further house building took place and the field was turned over to the Ministry of Food. After the war the field was acquired by Leicester City Council for allotments. Part of the allotments were sold to the Town Council in the 1970s and converted into Franklin Park, all the existing hedges were retained.
George Henry Wood is situated next to the village of Stretton, and borders Stretton Wood. It is newly-planted wood (32.50 ha/80.31 acres), which was made possible by the legacy of George Henry Sellars, who lived and worked all his life in the nearby village of Greetham. It was planted over four years from 2007, and is enclosed within a deer-exclusion fence. The site has a good network of pedestrian-only paths and the higher ground affords good views over the surrounding landscape.
Covering an area of 0.98 ha (2.42 acres), Georgina's Wood is a small woodland bordered by the Tamworth Road to the north and Measham Road to the east. It was planted in 1996 with native broad-leaved trees, predominantly Oak, Ash, and Wild Cherry. The former pasture was donated by a former Head Master of Appleby Magna School, who wanted a new native woodland planted in memory of his late wife Georgina.
Gilroes Cemetery is Leicester's largest municipal cemetery. Opened in 1902, it contains Leicester's main crematorium. The site contains many mature trees, shrubs and wide pathways. It forms part of Leicester’s green wedge and is well connected to surrounding Local Nature Reserves and Local Wildlife Sites.
The site has recently been extended to the north-east which provides an open expanse of grassland which has been seeded with native neutral meadow wildflowers and which is separated by mature hedgerows and field ponds.
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).
Approximately two miles east of Uppingham is the village of Glaston. It is bisected by the busy A47, but the churchyard thankfully lies to the north of the village away from the main road, opposite Glaston Park. The earliest parts of the church itself date from around 1200. The moderately-large churchyard is enclosed by a dry-stone wall around the perimeter, but borders an industrial area to the north with few trees to block the view. The eastern end of the churchyard is more attractive however, and this is where the main entrance is.
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 what is now Glenfield Wildlife Meadow across the A50. When the site was divided by the road re-alignment, both sites were made public open spaces. 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 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.