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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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)
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.
This site includes 120 acres of young woodland in amongst a popular nature discovery centre. The National Forest Charitable Trust is the Trust that owns Conkers has the wider objective of reclaiming derelict industrial landscapes, planting trees, creating recreational forests and parkland for the local and regional communities.
Cossington Meadows covers 86 ha and is the largest of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust's six nature reserves in the Soar valley. The area was quarried for gravel during the 1980s and 1990s, the pits then being filled and the area relandscaped, with several deep holes in the north of the site filling with water to form lakes. The Trust has created new wader scrapes and grazes the grassland areas.
Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2005, the verge is located on the track running up to the entrance to Cottesmore Airfield by Thistleton village, and is 394 metres in length. The main habitat is mesotrophic grassland.
This is a private site - the offices and grounds of Leicestershire County Council. Though we usually only include sites with public access, we have included it partly because over 2,500 staff have access to the area and also because the grounds include areas of notable wildlife interest.
Mixed habitat including some 4 hectares of deciduous woodland with areas of open grassland leading onto approximately 1 hectare of the Flood Retention area to the west. Sketchley Brook flows along the full southern length of the site plus an additional inflow from the north feeding the permanent wetland, sloping from north to south.
This Woodland Trust woodland is just under 4 hectares and comprises a mixture of parkland and wooded areas, with a number of mature trees as well as the newly planted areas. It is located on the west of Croft village and sits between two other excellent wildlife sites - Croft Quarry and Croft Pasture.It was formerly the village cricket pitch.