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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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 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.
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.
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.
This is a wide belt of mature woodland running along the western edge of an old golf course. Fishley Belt appears on maps going back to the nineteenth century and is one of the best examples of ancient woodland in Blaby District. In spring it is awash with native Bluebells and other wildflowers. The woodland is covered by a blanket TPO.
In 2004 Fishpond Plantation was bought by the Parish Council on behalf of the village with villagers’ donations and grants from Leicestershire County Council and Charnwood Borough Council. The Plantation is close to the centre of the village and covers 1.6 hectares; all that remains of a larger wood. There has been woodland here for at least 300 years, probably due to the area being quarried for gypsum and then being unsuitable for agriculture.
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 drainage feature provides damp grassland habitat for most of the year, with standing water at times after rain. The basin supports wetland plants such as Reedmace and Great Willowherb with drier grassland around the edges. It is accessible directly from the A50 and is adjacent to the Glenfield Wildlife Meadow.
Fludes Lane is a linear semi-natural broadleaved woodland site, connecting Oadby to the wider countryside. A path runs the length of Fludes Lane, following the course of the Washbrook; it is hard surfaced from the A6 entrance up to Severn Road and then forms a natural woodland track leading to footpaths to Great Stretton and Stoughton.
This site of approximately 20 acres was opened in 1993 with extensive grassland, woodland, ponds and a small lake with a bird hide. The areas of woodland are maturing well now and the whole site supports a rich diversity supporting good populations of birds and insects.
Foxton Locks is located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal about 5 km west of Market Harborough and named after the nearby village of Foxton. There are ten canal locks consisting of two "staircases" each of five locks. Alongside the locks is the Foxton Inclined Plane, built in 1900 to resolve the operational restrictions imposed by the lock flight. It was not a commercial success and only remained in full-time operation for ten years. It was dismantled in 1926 but a project to re-create it commenced in the 2000s.