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)

    A linear walk along a disused former railway line. 

    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.

    The Church of St Mary was originally built in the 14th and 15th century but has been extensively restored and altered.

    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.

    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.

    Ancient woodland covering 43.2 hectares, though largely planted with conifers. The wood lies just to the east of Cottesmore.

    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.

    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 thin strip of woodland is squeezed between the houses and Covert Lane. A path runs through the spinney providing easy access. It is believed to be a long-established woodland and part of the former Scraptoft Hall estate.

    This woodland was once part of the Scraptoft Hall estate and is believed to be long-standing. Within the woodland there is a ruined grotto known locally as the witches cave.

    A public footpath traverses the centre of the woodland and the site is well visited by local people.

    This reserve covers 5 ha and is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Trust. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve. 

    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.

    Croft Hill stands 128m high in a largely flat area of Leicestershire. The Hill provides a number of habitats including broad-leaved woodland, scrub land, acidic grassland and two other distinct areas of grassland.

    This Wildlife Trust reserve was glebe land, and is mainly unimproved grazing, with the exception of the south eastern corner, which has been top-dressed at some time in the past. The River Soar runs northwards and eastwards across the reserve, and was excluded from the improvement when much of the upper Soar was deepened and canalised in the early 1970s. Habitats include running water, river bank, and neutral and siliceous (sandy) grassland.

    David Taylor Wood is a very small young woodland, planted with native broadleaf species: Wild Cherry, Oak, Hazel and Ash interspersed with Field Maple and Hawthorn.

    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.

    This reserve is partly in Derbyshire and partly in Leicestershire, and is owned by Severn Trent Water and managed by the Wildlife Trust. It covers 23.5 ha and is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

    This place is the abandoned trackbed and cutting of the Great Northern Railway, Waltham branch, opened 1883 and closed 1964. It is a locally important biodiversity site and wildlife corridor.

    The woodland park is managed by Leicestershire County Council on the site of the former Donisthorpe Colliery that closed in 1990. The site has been planted with oak/ash woodland, poplars and Corsican pine. Stone surfaced paths take you around the site and link with the towpath of the restored section of the Ashby Canal that leads to the Moira Furnace.