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,
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.
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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)
Three miles south-west of Oakham is the small village of Brooke, which is at the head of the River Gwash. St Peter's church dates to the 12th century, and, interestingly, appeared on film in the 2005 film adaption of Pride & Prejudice. The quaint churchyard is small with largely open grassy space, but features a variety of tree and plant species.
Brooke Hill Wood is a 15.6 hectare (38.5 acre) site on the southern edges of Oakham. It is adjacent to Gorse Field, Harris Grove and Ball's Meadow, another Woodland Trust site. The map includes both sites.
This site was established as a nature area in 2017 following the development of the adjacent commercial units. A new permissive cycleway now crosses the site with a bridge over Rothley Brook to connect to the footpath and cycle way running along the old line of the Leicester and Swannington Railway. This was one of England's first railways, being opened in 1832 to bring coal from collieries. There are also mown grass paths.
Broombriggs Farm and Windmill Hill covers an area of 62 hectares, and is located to the west of Woodhouse Eaves and to the south of Beacon Hill. Broombriggs Farm is a mosaic of small fields enclosed by dry stone walls, hedgerows, fences and woodlands. They are managed to provide permanent pasture for grazing livestock and to grow various arable crops.
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.
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 2020 survey indicates this verge is rather poor quality grassland with the grass scorched in places. It slopes in parts to a height of 2-3 metres above the path. A reasonable diversity of plant species were found here but are generally not indicators of good grassland habitat.
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.
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.
Whilst clearly not a road verge, this wildflower area was surveyed in 2020 by NatureSpot volunteers as part of the Urban Verges Trial run by the County Council. It has a similar objective of creating wildflower grassland from regularly mown grass and persuading the public to support this action.
The wildflower area lies between a group of trees and within the wider amenity parkland.
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.
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).