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)
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.
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.
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.
This corridor follows the path of the small brook which flows southwest past past the sewage works of the Goadby Road before running along the boundary of the parish towards the boundary of the Thorpe Arnold cricket ground. At that point, it is known as Thorpe Brook and runs through Melton Mowbray before joining the River Eye. Farther upstream, the name of they brook is not designated on OS maps; a previous wildlife study gives the name of Caldwell Brook (does anyone have more information?).
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.
This 33 hectare site is ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It stands on Keuper Marl and Boulder Clay and is one of the most floristically rich sites in the county. In the past it was a larger site standing on Carboniferous Limestone but this has since been quarried out. The woodland was clear-felled around the time of World War II but was allowed to regenerate naturally. It was donated to the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in 1993 by Ennstone Breedon plc. The Trust has now reinstigated coppice management in parts of the site.