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)
At 248m, the summit of Beacon Hill Country Park is the 2nd highest in Leicestershire and boasts panoramic views across the county and beyond. The park covers 135 hectares and includes woodland, heathland, grassland, and wildflower meadows.
Belgrave Hall was built in the early 18th century, in what was then a small village three miles from the City of Leicester. John Throsby described the Hall in his ‘Excursions in Leicestershire’ in 1790 as “a neat little box in the midst of Flora’s pleasure”. The formal gardens are protected by high red brick walls which shelter a variety of shrubs and climbers, including a magnificent Wisteria sinensis, reputed planted by John Ellis in 1860.
This 20 hectare local nature reserve, located in the north of the borough of Hinckley and Bosworth, consists of a variety of habitats including acid grassland, which is ecologically significant at a local level. Additionally, there are a number of rocky outcrops of Markfieldite, making the hill a regionally important geological site. The site consists of formerly improved pasture, surrounding a small hilltop plantation, dating from the late 1800's/early 1900's, and a small quarry.
This verge is being managed to improve biodiversity as part of the County Council/Parish Council urban verges trial. It was surveyed in 2020 by NatureSpot volunteers.
The verge has a generally poor floral species diversity.It was noted that a number of circular bare patches were present suggesting that bulbs had been planted (Narcissus remains appeared to be evident).
The little village of Bisbrooke is just a couple of miles east of Uppingham, close to the A47. St John the Baptist Church was completely rebuilt in 1871 in the style of a 13th century church, with coursed ironstone fabric and a limestone floor. The churchyard is reasonably small, with some common churchyard flora.
Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2005, the verge has a length of 222 metres (2.5 metres wide), and the main habitat is mesotrophic grassland. There is a shallow ditch present and an adjacent hedgerow. The area is mostly dominated by coarse grasses and herbs, and is usually cut in April. In 2009, the general condition was judged to be poor/declining, with fewer indicator species than the original assessment.
This site, managed by Blaby Parish Council, includes the 'old cemetery', established in the later 19th century, which is managed as a nature area. The old cemetery is particularly good for wildlife due to its mix of meadow, trees and hedgerow.
Planted in 1998 and covering an area of 5 .67 ha (14.01 acres), Blaby Oaks is a site of young oak trees, a small pond, and a wetland area. A bridleway and numerous circular walks exist around the site though they can be muddy in wet weather.
Blackbrook Reservoir is a 33.4 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest between Shepshed and Whitwick in Leicestershire. The reservoir was constructed in 1796 in order to feed the Charnwood Forest Canal, which has long since vanished. The first dam constructed was an earthworks one, and this failed on 20 February 1799. In eleven minutes the reservoir was empty and as a result local farmland was ruined, sheep were drowned, and much of Shepshed and nearby Loughborough were affected by flood waters.
This woodland lies alongside the A1 and is possibly, but doubtfully, ancient and covers 10 ha on Upper Estuarine Series clay. The wood, Bloody Oaks, gains its name from the large number of men killed near here in March 1470, at the Battle of Losecoat Field (also known as the Battle of Empingham), during the 'War of the Roses'
This small reserve (1.3 ha) is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Trust and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The principal habitat is the species-rich limestone grassland, which is rare in the two counties.
This small country park is reputedly the site of the Battle of Bosworth, though recent historical research has indicated that the main battle was nearby. The site offers grassland, hedges and a number of mature trees. It is adjacent to Ambion Wood and a short walk from the Ashby Canal.
Bradgate Park is Leicestershire’s most popular park. Located in Charnwood Forest just northwest of Leicester it covers 850 acres (3 km²). The River Lin runs through it, flowing into Cropston Reservoir which was constructed on part of the park. The landscape is rocky moorland with a covering of coarse grass and bracken.
Three miles south-west from Oakham lies the pretty village of Braunston. All Saints Church is in the centre of the village and is set in a moderately-sized churchyard. The earliest parts of the church date to the 12th century.
The tiny ironstone village of Bringhurst is situated 2 miles south of Eye Brooke Reservoir, 2.5 miles northwest of Corby. The earliest parts of the church date from the 12th century, and the churchyard is open and grassy, with a few trees and a wildflower area.
Brocks Hill Country Park was opened in 1999 and covers 67 acres, containing young broadleaved plantation woodland, orchards, hedgerows, ponds, meadows and a medieval ridge and furrow field, with a network of accessible paths. Some of the grasslands have been in existence since the country park was previously farmland, however, the newer wildflower meadows also contain a range of species. The combination of habitats and garden areas make Brocks Hill a biodiverse urban-fringe site. Lucas Marsh, a Wildlife Trust nature reserve, adjoins the park.