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)

    Broughton Astley Quarry was used as a brick quarry until it was closed in the mid-1950s. Since then the area has been pretty much left to its own devices, comprising a sizeable lake surrounded by marshy areas of scrubland, quality grassland and developing woodland.

    The Quarry was surveyed in August 1990 by the Environmental Advisory Unit from Liverpool University Ltd.

    HDC has given Naturespot permission to regularly visit and survey the site.

    The majority of the church grounds are grassed and subject to mowing but an area at the back of the church supports a number of mature trees with a small patch of open ground in the centre. This area is being nurtured to become a wildlife area and work is ongoing to enhance the existing planting and making wildlife features to encourage wildlife onto the site.

    Brown's Wood, formerly Manor Farm Woodland, lies just north of Thornton Reservoir. It was planted in part due to the heavy metal group Iron Maiden liaising with the Carbon Neutral Company to plant enough saplings to offset the carbon dioxide generated by the production and distribution of their 2003 album Dance of Death.

    Several public footpaths cross the site.

    This 80 hectare site is a country park with a visitor centre and a network or well-marked paths. It has extensive mature woodland, unimproved grassland and a number of other features such as ponds and streams.

    This is a plantation woodland, possibly ancient, lying just north of Rutland Water towards Exton. It is now managed as part of the Rutland Falcony and Owl Centre, who are undertaking a number of conservation projects to improve the biodiversity of the wood.

    This is the largest ancient woodland in Leicestershire and Rutland, covering 158.3 ha. and located just north of Rutland Water. It is part of the Burley and Rushpits Woods SSSI. The wood stands on Upper Lias Clay, mostly on a south-facing slope, but with varied topography. Parts have been planted with conifers and broadleaves.

    Located between Burrough on the Hill and Somerby, south of Melton Mowbray, Burrough Hill Country Park is one of the most striking and historic features in the landscape of eastern Leicestershire. The well-preserved Iron Age hill fort dramatically crowns a steep-sided promontory of land reaching 210m (690 ft), with superb views. A prominent landmark and ready-made arena, the hill has long been a place for public recreation. As well as the grassy hilltop the country park offers diverse wildlife habitats and varied areas to visit.

    This quiet country lane offers a lovely walk into the National Forest, with rolling hills, new woodland and a historic landscape around you. The lane only offers access to a few houses but there is a very small car park at Burroughs Wood. At the end of the lane there is a tarmac cycle path that weaves its way to Thornton Reservoir. It is just possible to glimpse Bury Camp, a large Iron Age settlement, now on private land about 150 metres from the road. 

    Ratby Burroughs is in two parts: the southern part of fairly new plantations and the northern part, ancient woodlands with carpets of wood anemones and bluebells during the season. Both are part of the New National Forest.

    Cademan Wood lies to the south of Grace Dieu Park. It is a mature and attractive woodland with numerous rocky outcrops, popular with families, dog walkers and local climbers.

    Caldecott is the most southerly village in Rutland and is located about 4 miles south of Uppingham. The church dates from the 12th century although there is some Norman fabric remaining. The churchyard is a reasonably large and has a number of trees and areas of unmown grassland.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2011, the site includes the verges on both sides of the road (688 metres in length on the east/south side, and 668 metres on the west/north side). The main habitats are calcareous grassland and mixed grassland. The verge is approximately 1 metre wide (E/S) and 1.5 metres wide (W/N).

    Castle Gardens is a green oasis close to the City centre in Leicester.  It is located in the historic “Castle Park” area with the River Soar forming a natural boundary on the west and the old Courthouse and St Mary de Castro church to the East (note that access to the churchyard is restricted).

    The Gardens contain many specimen trees, shrubs and seasonal planting whilst the Castle motte has more natural vegetation and mature trees with fine views from the top.


    The park was established in 1985 and comprises of approximately 104 ha of mainly improved grassland and plantation woodland which are located between Beaumont Leys and the village of Anstey.  The A46 Western Bypass divides the park into two linear sections with the Rothley Brook forming the western boundary.

    Centenary and Royal Tigers Wood, purchased by the Woodland Trust in 1993, covers an area of 33.5 hectares and occupies a prominent hillside position south of the village of Bagworth. The woodland is made up of two sections: Centenary Wood to the north was planted to commemorate 100 years of Bagworth Parish Council, whilst the section to the south, Royal Tigers Wood, is a living memorial to The Royal Leicestershire Regiment.

    This small fragment of ancient wood was extended by the Woodland Trust (sometimes called Hollow Oak Wood). It lies on a traditional walk route referred to as the 'Ratby Change' with a public footpath running through it.

    This reserve is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and covers 26.8 ha. The display of bluebells in Burrow Wood in the spring is an impressive sight  and it also has a great variety of dead wood habitats, from standing dead trees to rotting fallen trees and branches, which are important for insects.

    The reserve is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and covers 193.5 ha. Most of the reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and part was declared a National Nature Reserve in 2000. Note that significant areas of this important and sensitive nature reserve have no public access. Other areas have limited access to LRWT members and other permit holders only.

    Charnwood Water, a former claypit which has been filled in to form a man-made reservoir, covers an area of 27.12 acres. The lake is surrounded by trees and a circular footpath, and is used mainly for leisure purposes by the general public.

    Interestingly. the site was formerly the old Tuckers brickworks, which supplied bricks for St. Pancras Station in London.

    This is a large block of land between Ratby Lane and the M1 which has been re-modelled and landscaped as part of the nearby development. A right of way follows an attractive line through this area where surplus soils have been used to make substantial hills. The site is bisected by the Kirby Brook and the area has naturally regenerated with some tree planting.