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.

Stonesby Quarry is owned by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust and  covers 4 ha. It is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The reserve is part of a worked-out quarry on soft Jurassic lower Lincolnshire limestone. Although the area is small, parts of the site have developed an important limestone grassland community, rare in Leicestershire. 

Swadlincote Woodlands is an attractive greenspace close to the town centre with excellent access for people. Over the past 20 years a former landfill and open cast site has been transformed into 33 hectares of woodland. The park includes open space, woodlands, play areas and a point for viewing across the town and valley. A network of footpaths criss-cross the site and link to existing access points.

The reservoir, built around 1896, lies just south of Quorn, and is about a mile long by half a mile wide. The Great Central Railway divides the reservoir into two; the northern section is the larger. There is no access to the reservoir margins, but both sections are easily viewed from public roads.

Swithland Wood is located on the edge of Charnwood Forest. It lies some 6 miles north west of Leicester and some 7 miles south of Loughborough, and near to the east entrance to Bradgate Park.The wood is ancient oak woodland covering 146 acres and a remnant of the original Charnwood Forest Oak Woods. It is rich in a wide range of flora and fauna and has an extensive network of footpaths. Within the wood are former Swithland slate quarries.

Syston Lake has been owned by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust since 2011. The site is part of the important River Soar corridor and contains open water and grassland on restored former gravel workings. 

Created in the early 1990’s as part of the commercial development of land to the south west of Lubbesthorpe Way. The area was designed to prevent rain run-off from the development overloading the Lubbesthorpe Brook. Previously the land was grazing fields but was “sculptured” to form a large dry lagoon. Several locations were planted with a variety of trees and shrubs, most not native to UK!

The Miles Piece covers 0.7 ha and is owned by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. Donated to the trust in 1978, this is the smallest of their reserves (roughly the same size as a football pitch). This is a tranquil spot alive with birdsong in a sea of agricultural fields.

This site is an area of unimproved grassland with stands of sedge situated alongside the River Soar. It also features hedgerows, ditches and boggy ground including a previous water course.  The fields are the core area of what was once a larger Aylestone Bog, part of which is now buried under the playing fields to the west. It is maintained through grazing by English Longhorn cattle during the summer months.

Thomas Estley Community College is located in the centre of Broughton Astley village, serving 11 - 14 year olds. TECC is a modern school with a large green space, used mainly as playing fields but with a few mature trees and hedges along some its boundaries. We have included TECC as a Wild Space because of the special interest by the staff and pupils in learning more about the wildlife on their site and their support for the Broughton Astley NatureSpot development.

These meadows are long-establish and unimproved meadows which are being restored through an appropriate mowing regime. The Leicestershire Round footpath cuts across the site. A playground and multi-use games area have been built in part of the site and the north-east corner has been flattened as a football area. However the surrounding meadows are wonderfully rich.

Owned by Severn Trent Water, Thornton Reservoir was opened to the public in 1997. Excellent for bird watching with good access via the circular walk around the reservoir.
Tilton Cutting covers 3.1 ha and is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. This is a Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest and is the best site in the East Midlands for demonstrating the sequence of rocks laid down about 180 million years ago. 

Previously known as Cradock's Meadow, Tom Long's Meadow is a narrow strip of marsh and wet woodland in the heart of Quorn. The site has grown significantly wetter in recent years due to an increase in building developments nearby, and is now predominantly home to riparian species and wet woodland habitat. It serves as part of a vital wildlife corridor through this area of Charnwood and in proximity to the River Soar. The site is bordered on one side by the Poulteney Brook.

The stewardship farm site at Ullsthorpe is a relatively undiscovered nature hot spot, perhaps because it is not easily visible from any road. The site itself is based around a raised area of disused railway track which provides easy walking, whilst other attractive short walks run off to either side into fields and more wooded areas. Because this is a stewardship farm site it is managed with wildlife in mind and the public are welcomed.

Ulverscroft Nature Reserve covers 56 ha. Much of it lies within the Ulverscroft Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is an excellent site with different woodland types, heathland, grassland, scrub and marsh. Poultney Wood, Fox Covert, the Valley Marshes and Herbert's Meadow are owned by the Trust. The rest of the reserve is owned by the National Trust and is managed by the Trust.

Founded in 1921 with the assistance of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society, the University of Leicester Botanic Garden was established on its present site in Oadby in 1947. The variety of habitats and plants make this site a magnet for a wide range of wildlife. It is particularly good for bees and other nectar-feeding insects due to the abundance of flowers, with some plants in flower virtually every month of the year. The various water features attract dragonflies and damselflies.

Towpath is an excellent site for wildlife, containing a number of small ponds and marshy grassland areas. The site includes the historic endpoint of the Ashby Canal which was home to a huge pipeworks. The neighbouring Swainspark Wood is approximately 10 ha and is an established woodland with trees that are 20-50 years old. The wood also has a history of workings for clay and coal. 

Wanlip Meadows covers 16.2 ha and was purchased by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in 2004. The site  was quarried for gravel during the 1990's and has now been regenerated as an important part of the Soar Valley wildlife corridor.