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.
zoom into the map and click on any site to show its details below,
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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)
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.
Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2005, Seaton Road verge is 94 metres in length, and 1-2 metres in depth between the tarmac and a hedgerow. The main recorded habitats are grassland and tall herbs, and although generally species-poor, the site does support Danewort, a Red Data Book species.
This verge is being managed to improve biodiversity as part of the County Council/Parish Council verges biodiversity trial. It was surveyed in 2021 by NatureSpot volunteers but we would welcome additional wildlife records from the community, whether plants, animals or fungi.
Covering an area of 3.23 ha (7.98 acres), Battram Turn North is located beside the recycling centre (once the quarry) in Ellistown. It was bought from British Coal in 1994 to create a pocket park for both nature conservation and informal recreation. The project was also funded by the Rural Development Commission and the Landmark North West Countryside Project. Enclosed by hedgerow, the site offers an area of open access.
Several woods adjoin to make this site an extensive woodland area of significant wildlife interest. Battram Wood is a 48ha site purchased by the Royal Forestry Society with grant aid from the National Forest Company, North West Leicestershire County Council and the Rural Development Commission. Planted between 1998 and 2001, Battram Wood is intended to demonstrate best practice in managing woodland for multiple uses. Cricket bat willows will be harvested in about 20 years, followed by poplar, thereby ensuring sustainable income for the site.
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.
In 2002, following a management plan devised between Billesdon Wildlife Group and Leicestershire County Council, the Billesdon Woodland Pool was developed on the historic site of Prisoner of War Camp No.94. Used to house Italian, and later German, prisoners during WW2, the camp’s football pitch was excavated in 2004 to create the pond. The 8 acre site, all accessible by footpaths, now consists of a mixed habitat of wetland, wooded areas, grassland and scrub, hedges and ditches.
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.