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:

    • zoom into the map and click on any site to show its details below,
    • use the filters below to find sites in your district or parish,
    • 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.

    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)

    This section runs from Shackerstone to Snarestone.

    The Ashby Canal is 31 miles long and connects the former mining area of Moira to the Coventry Canal. It opened in 1804 and serviced the collieries but over many years the section north of Snarestone was affected by mining subsidence and was eventually closed to navigation. A restoration programme has recently led to a part reopening but work continues. As some of the original canal had been filled in and built over a new section is being constructed around Measham.

    The canal was opened in 1804 with the purpose of servicing the Leicestershire coalfield, but by the 1830s its industrial use was in decline. Originally extending as far north as Moira, the canal suffered mining subsidence resulting in the draining, in 1944 and again in 1957 and 1966, of successive lengths of the northernmost 10 km (6 miles). Much of this stretch was subsequently filled with pulverized fuel ash.

    This section runs from the end of the Snarestone tunnel to the current end of the canal.

    The Ashby Canal is 31 miles long and connects the former mining area of Moira to the Coventry Canal. It opened in 1804 and serviced the collieries but over many years the section north of Snarestone was affected by mining subsidence and was eventually closed to navigation. A restoration programme has recently led to a part reopening but work continues. As some of the original canal had been filled in and built over a new section is being constructed around Measham.

    This section of the Ashby Canal skirts around the western edge of Stoke Golding.

    The Ashby Canal is 31 miles long and connects the former mining area of Moira to the Coventry Canal. It opened in 1804 and serviced the collieries but over many years the section north of Snarestone was affected by mining subsidence and was eventually closed to navigation. A restoration programme has recently led to a part reopening but work continues. As some of the original canal had been filled in and built over a new section is being constructed around Measham.

    This verge is being managed to improve biodiversity as part of the County Council/Parish Council verges biodiversity trial. It will be surveyed in 2021 by NatureSpot volunteers but we would welcome additional wildlife records from the community, whether plants, animals or fungi.

    This group of reclaimed greenspaces includes 5 very different sites covering a wide area of land formally used for heavy industry.  This section of the Ashby Woulds Trail links the sites together and includes Sarah’s Wood which was planted in 1995 with designed for access for all, and the Moira Furnace Industrial Heritage site.

    The village of Ashwell is situated 3 miles north of Oakham, and the churchyard lies in the north of the village. The oldest fabric of the church dates from the 12th century, but most of the church dates to the 13th and 14th centuries. The churchyard is flat and elevated from the road, with a number of tree species, particularly towards the western end.

    Astill Lodge Park and Spinney is one of the smaller areas of Open Space found in Leicester and covers approximately 4.6 ha.   Although used historically for hunting deer, then grazing sheep as part of the much larger Beaumont Estate, the site has had a mixed history.  In 1890 it formed part of the Beaumont Leys Sewerage system, but then reverted to farmland with the small spinney planted in the early 1900s and extended in 1916 to the boundary still in place today.  In the 1970s the site was used as a domestic refuse site with parts of the old Astill Lodge farms knocked down and debris sprea

    The Attenborough Arboretum site occupies about five acres and forms part of the land that used to belong to Home Farm.  (The old farm house still exists nearby and has been converted into maisonettes.) The arboretum features possibly the only surviving example in the city of a mediaeval ridge-and-furrow field and also contains two large ponds.The arboretum was opened on 23rd April 1997. About 20 local schools helped in the planting phase in March 1996, and over 40 attended the grand opening ceremony, conducted by Sir David Attenborough, after whose family the arboretum is named.

    Aylestone Meadows is the best area for wildlife within the city of Leicester. It is a sizeable green wedge along the River Soar and Grand Union Canal and is also bisected by the former Great Central Railway line - now a popular walking and cycling route. In the past, a large area of the flood meadows was used as a landfill site and today the landscaped mound is used as a sports pitch. The mixture of aquatic habitats, grazed meadows, ponds and rough grassland provides a rich and diverse habitat for much wildlife.

    The small village of Ayston is a mile north-west of Uppingham, just off the A47. St Mary the Virgin Church dates to the 13th century but has had some later additions. The church and churchyard are set away from the road behind houses.

    Less than a mile south of Bagworth, towards Merry Lees and Desford, this 75 hectare (185 acre) Country Park has been tranformed from scarred industrial landscape of Desford Colliery into a valuable recreational resource. Owned and managed by Leicestershire County Council Bagworth Heath Woods are made up of woodland, grassland, heathland, lakes and ponds.

    This wood lies to the north-west of Bagworth village. The 26ha wood was a National Forest Company Tender Scheme winner in 2000. The woodland is predominantly a commercial poplar crop with woody shrubs to add diversity and wildlife habitat.  A large area of wetland has been retained.  Groups of native Black Poplar have been planted in the wetter areas by the pond.

    A permissive riding route has been created around the perimeter of part of the site and a new dedicated footpath links existing Rights of Way across the site to those to the west.

    Bardon Hill, near Coalville, is the highest point in Leicestershire, 278 metres (912 feet) above sea level. The hill has two very distinct faces – one half preserved as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the other removed by Bardon Hill Quarry. It is also the site of a radio mast. Though it is the highest point in Leicestershire, it is easy to get to the top and the summit offers tremendous views across the county plus a dramatic vista over the adjacent quarry.

    This verge is being managed to improve biodiversity as part of the County Council/Parish Council verges biodiversity trial. It will be surveyed in 2021 by NatureSpot volunteers but we would welcome additional wildlife records from the community, whether plants, animals or fungi.

    This verge is being managed to improve biodiversity as part of the County Council/Parish Council verges biodiversity trial. It will be surveyed in 2021 by NatureSpot volunteers but we would welcome additional wildlife records from the community, whether plants, animals or fungi.

    This ancient woodland covering 28 ha and is part of the Rutland Water SSSI. The wood is situated on Upper Lias clay and formerly lay within a Medieval deer park. It was partly destroyed through construction of the reservoir. It is a neglected coppice of the Peterken Ash-Maple, Ash-Hazel, Pedunculate Oak-Hazel and Invasive Elm types but has been partly planted with conifers.

    This verge is being managed to improve biodiversity as part of the County Council/Parish Council verges biodiversity trial. It will be surveyed in 2021 by NatureSpot volunteers but we would welcome additional wildlife records from the community, whether plants, animals or fungi.

    First designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2003, the verge has a length of 50 metres and is comprised of mesotrophic grassland.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2004, the site is a narrow grass verge that opens onto wider slopes and stretches of grassland comprising the village green. A stone-lined duck pond has been dug in part of it.