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)

    The Wash Brook Nature Reserve is a large triangular Public Open Space (POS) (2.8 hectares approx) located within Knighton Ward and owned and managed by Leicester City Council. It is bisected by the Wash Brook. The Midland Mainline Railway forms the Western boundary.

    Watermead Country Park is a 140-hectare site that is nearly two miles long and as its name suggests it is a wetland area with over 12 lakes and smaller ponds. The Park is developing one of the largest reedbed areas in the Midlands and has five birdhides, including a 2-storey hide. Running through the Park are the River Soar and Grand Union Canal which provide an essential corridor for wildlife. It has a good network of suraced paths.

    This wildlife corridor follows the Rothley Brook flowing towards Anstey. A stream joins the Brook beside the sports ground and the land between has been planted with shrubs. It has mown paths which provide good access. The watercourse is bordered by shrubs and mature trees but has an open aspect in places, with farmland to the west and the sports fields to the east. A path through it continues along the brookside beyond the parish and under the A46 towards Anstey.

    The Welbeck site is located to the south west of Burbage and is clearly defined to the south by the well treed corridor of Watling Street. A well maintained bridleway, lined by an avenue of mature Lime trees, runs the full length of the site's eastern boundary. The urban area of Burbage adjoins the site on the eastern edge.

    Welford Road Cemetery was opened in 1849 and covers 6.9 ha.  The site is an important green space in the City of Leicester and contains many mature trees. 

    Welland Park is the largest park in Market Harborough. The popular park offers visitors a range of facilities. The River Welland runs through part of the park and there are 35 tree species to be found.

    Western Park was once part of the Leicester Forest (mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1089) and was an important game preserve where the Earls of Leicester and their descendants hunted. An Oak tree still remains from this period and is affectionately known as ‘Old Major’. At the beginning of the 19th Century, Leicester Corporation purchased the land for £30,000, to create a park for the people of the West End. The park is extensive and includes many different habitats: meadow grassland, exposed rock, ponds, new woodland and a stream.

    This small pond lies in the middle of housing but retains a natural character.

    The large Rutland village of Whissendine is adjacent to the Leicestershire border and is approximately 6 miles north-west of Oakham. The village is split into two by a brook and the older part of the village is sited around the church to the east. The church dates from the 13th century, and is dominated by a tall Barnock-stone tower. It also contains some interesting interior features which may be of interest. The churchyard is reasonably large and well-maintained.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2004, Whitwell verge lies to the east of Whitwell village and is 230 metres in length, on only the north side of Whitwell Road (A606). The main habitat is mesotrophic grassland.

    Willesley Wood was the first site within the National Forest to be planted with trees over 25 years ago. This beautiful wood is now contains a mosaic of maturing woodland, flower meadows and wetland. The neighbouring Oakthorpe Picnic Site contains a mixture of habitats including woodland, semi improved grassland and wildflower areas. Both sites are home to a wide range of increasingly interesting flora and fauna.

    The Church of St Peter and St Paul lies near the centre of Wing village, just south of Rutland Water.

    This is a small lozenge shape of embankment and stream between the Winstanley College and the Lubbesthorpe Way. It was originally part of the school grounds but was fenced off in 2006-7 for security reasons. The land has now reverted to scrubland with boggy edges to the stream.

    This site was established by Cawrey Homes and the National Forest along the line of a brook. It has newly planted woodland and rough grassland, bordered by mature hedges. A public footpath runs through the site which forms part of a circular walk from Ratby.

    The Church of St Peters is grade one listed and lies to the west of the village and the River Anker runs alongside. Areas of the churchyard are unmown and there are a number of specimen trees.

    This large semi-improved grassland field borders the River Anker along the west and is the site of the former Witherley Mill. The remnant mill race bisects the centre of the site, providing a mainly marshy habitat with some areas of shallow standing water. A large pond lies to the north of the site. The field is used for grazing cattle and has a few scattered shrubs around the site, mainly Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna and Holly Ilex ilicis. A few standard trees have been planted within fenced cages to prevent cattle access.

    This is a small mixed wood planted in the 1890’s for bird shoots and the like. Despite the surrounding recently erected commercial factory/warehouse units this wood has remained unchanged and unmanaged since the 1970’s.

    This 4 hectare site has a number of different habitats, principally mesotrophic grassland, wet woodland, a pond and flood meadow. It additionally has areas of rough grassland and scrub and several mature Ash and Oak trees.

    These meadows are owned by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust and were originally part of common land used by Wymeswold villagers, traditionally for cattle grazing. The land is unimproved grassland on calcareous Boulder Clay and bisected by a stream which is deeply cut into the meadows.

    Wymondham Rough covers 12.5 ha and is owned by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. Part of the reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Habitats include neutral grassland, a length of disused canal, deciduous and mixed woodland, ponds, and a marshy area developing between canal and railway.