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)

    Map Key: Wild Places (outlined in red); Public Rights of Way (green); VC55 boundary (blue)

    Empingham is a small village that lies just beyond the north east corner of Rutland Water, and the church itself is rather large in comparison. Much of the church dates to the 13th century, with some 15th century features and beyond. The churchyard is mostly open, with a few mature trees at the rear.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2011, Empingham Estate roadside verge is approximately 160 metres in length, both sides of the drive. The habitat is made up of calcareous and mixed grassland, and mown in September.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2011, Exton Road verge is mainly calcareous and mixed grassland, and both sides of the verge are around 500 metres in length. The western verge is approximately 2 metres wide, and the eastern verge is approximately one metre wide.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2011, Grantham Lane North verge includes both sides of the road, with the eastern side being 1324 metres long and the western side being 1310 metres long. The main habitats are calcareous grassland and mixed grassland. The verge is approximately 1 metre  wide on the eastern side and 2 metres wide on the western side.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2006, the Grantham Lane South verge is 1160 metres in length and contains mainly calcareous grassland. The site is the northwestern side of the road only, and varies between 2 and 4 metres in width, between the tarmac and the hedge. The southern end (300 metres) is reportedly excellent and diverse, while the remainder is less diverse and more disturbed in places but still a good quality grassland habitat.

    The verge on the east side of Ketton Road was designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2006, and is 520 metres in length. The main habitat is mesotrophic and calcareous grassland.

    Loves Lane verge was desginated a Local Wildlife Site in 2005, and is approximately 400 metres in length. The habitat is mesotrophic, calcareous and mixed grassland.

    This site is located just north of Empingham village. It contains calcareous grassland, marsh, woodland, open water, springs and streams on Upper and Lower Lincolnshire Oolitic limestone. It is a SSSI (notified for base-rich marsh and fen) and covers 14.53 ha.

    This ancient woodland covers 30 ha but now consists of only four separated fragments of the original site, the remainder having been destroyed. Some planting of broadleaves and conifers has taken place, but semi-natural stands still predominate. The geology is varied, with ironstone, acidic and calcareous clays, giving rise to both mildly acid and neutral to calcareous soils.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2003, the verge includes both sides of the road. The verges are around 1 km in length and comprised of both mesotrophic and calcareous grassland. In 2006, the site was judged to be well-managed and very species diverse.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2003, Essendine Railway verges stretch for approximately 1 kilometer either side of the railway tracks, with an area of 1.1 hectares. The main habitats are mesotrophic grassland, calcareous grassland, and mixed grassland.

    This 'new' site was established as part of a planning permission and provides new cycle and pedestrian access across the River Soar and onto the Great Central Way.

    Only two miles away from the City centre, Evington Park has the tranquil atmosphere of the country estate it once was. The 44 acres of parkland includes meadow areas, ponds and a wide variety of trees. The land was purchased by Leicester City Council and opened as a park in 1948. A Bioblitz was held on 25-26th May 2012 to record as many species as possible over a 24 hour period.

    Exton church is located on the west of the small village of Exton, which is north of Rutland Water and close to both Oakham and Stamford. The quaint church sits at the end of a quiet drive and lies in the beautiful grounds of Exton Park. The churchyard is an entirely open, grassy space. The church dates to the 13th century, and has an impressive array of monuments and sculptures from the 16th to the 18th century for those interested. Notably, in 1843 a lightning strike toppled the spire, but it has been rebuilt in the original stone.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2003, Exton roadside verge includes both sides of Exton Road, and both verges are 3.6 kilometers in length. The main habitats are mesotrophic grassland, calcareous grassland and mixed grassland.

    The inflow of the Eye Brook is at the northern end of Eyebrook Reservoir to either side of the bridge. Overhanging willows upstream and water meadows downstream flank this slow-moving stream.

    This large reservoir straddles the border between Leicestershire and Rutland. Access is limited but good views of the northern end are available from the road.  It is a good bird watching area and has produced a number of rare species. The reservoir has a famous history as it was the test area for the revolutionary 'bouncing bomb' used in the Dambuster raids during World Word II. It was built between 1937 and 1940 by damming the Eye Brook and the site now covers around 200 hectares (150ha of open water).

    Feanedock and Boothorpe are new woodlands planted on former farmland in the Ashby Woulds, both sites are owned by the National Forest Company. The neighbouring Mayberry Wood and Rawdon East Wood are examples of reclaimed habitats on former coal mining sites.

    Purchased by the Woodland Trust in 1996 and covering an area of 8.77 ha (21.67 acres), Felicity's Wood lies in the heart of the ancient hunting Forest of Charnwood and it is also within the boundary of the National Forest. Felicity's wood has Beacon Hill Country Park, to the south; The Outwoods ancient woodland to the east and Charnwood Lodge NNR to the west as well as numerous copses and spinneys in the surrounding farmland.The site is on a north facing slope and from the main entrance there are spectacular views over Charnwood Forest and northward to the Trent valley.

    The churchyard of the historic church of St Michael and All Angel's and lies in the centre of the village of Fenny Drayton. Most of the churchyard is grassland which is regularly mown and a ring of veteran Yew trees Taxas baccata encircles the boundary.