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)

    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 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.

    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.

    Donkey Lane in Sapcote is a short unmade road which runs from the Bassett Lane Cemetery for a few hundred yards.  The wide verges of lush vegetation and high hedges either side encourage a rich insect population typical of woodland edge, and at the end of the lane is a small copse with Aspen amongst other species.  Having reached the small copse area anyone wishing to extend their walk can follow public footpaths into the fields in two directions.

    Edith Weston is a small village very close to the south side of Rutland Water. St Mary the Virgin church itself has an 'unusual' layout, which may be of interest, and the north arcade dates to the 12th century whilst the south aisle arcade is dated a little later to the early 13th century. The pretty churchyard is walled with a few mature trees.

    The small village of Egleton is very near to Rutland Water and the Anglian Water Bird Watching Centre is accessed via the village. The church dates to the 12th century. The churchyard contains some matures trees and is sheltered from the adjacent road by a hedgerow.

    Until 2015 this site was a piece of regularly mown amenity grassland which formed part of the former John Ellis School site (the school was demolished in the early 1990s).
    The area was identified as part of a strategic flood alleviation scheme with works planned along the River Soar to improve flood storage during storm events.  Fortunately both the Environment Agency and City Council sought to implement Blue-Green techniques for flood storage rather than rely on traditional engineering methods that could have resulted in high walls and hard infrastructure.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2003, Bloody Oaks verge covers an area of 2500m2, and is approximately 200 metres in length. It is located on Grantham Lane by the A1 on the northwestern side of the road only. The main habitats are calcareous grassland, mesotrophic grassland, and mixed grassland.

    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.