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)

    Goss Meadows LNR is a long narrow strip of grassland that is separated out into a number of meadows demarcated with fencing.  It was an old drovers road into the city and now forms part of the more extensive green wedge on the north-western outskirts of Leicester and stretches from the bottom of Anstey Lane to the major roundabouts at Beaumont Leys. This smaller stretch is on Anstey Lane jest to the west of the outer ring road.

    The area around the ruins of Grace Dieu Priory are very varied and offer rich and diverse habitats for wildlife. Meadows, ponds, streams, a disused quarry and extensive woodland present a fascinating landscape which has revealed many surprising plants and animals. The area is now managed as public open space (except the old quarry) and there is no charge for entry.

    This central part of the Grantham Canal stretches for 5 miles from Harby eastwards through Plungar and Barkestone-le-Vale to Redmile. A Site of Special Scientific Interest covers most of this section stretching from Rectory Bridge, Harby (bridge no.44) to Redmile Mill Bridge (no.53). The Canal opened in 1797 and was closed to boat traffic in 1929. After several decades of public ownership the management of the Canal passed from British Waterways to the newly formed Canal and River Trust in 2012.

    This western part of the Grantham Canal in Leics stretches 2.5 miles from the county boundary at the River Smite aqueduct north of Long Clawson, eastwards past Hose, to Harby. The Grantham Canal was built to supply coal to Grantham and runs from the River Trent in Nottingham for 33 miles to Grantham. The Canal was opened in 1797 and closed to traffic in 1929.

    Forming the eastern section of the Grantham Canal in Leics this site stretches nearly 4 miles from Redmile eastwards to the county boundary south of Muston. The Canal was built to supply coal to Grantham and runs from the River Trent in Nottingham for 33 miles to Grantham. It opened in 1797 and closed to traffic in 1929.

    The church of St Peter and St Paul lies at the southern end of the small village of Great Casterton, two and a half miles north-west of Stamford. The churchyard is an open space with few trees, and the church itself is ironstone and dates mostly from the 13th century.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2006, the verge is a steep bank between the hedge at the top and the A1 sliproad into Great Casterton. The main habitat of the 0.3 hectare site is calcareous grassland. In 2009, the condition was assessed as good but declining.

    At the south eastern tip of Leicestershire is the village of Great Easton set in the Welland valley and very close to the borders with Northamptonshire and Rutland. It is just south of the Eyebrook Reservoir. The earliest parts of the church date from the 13th century, and the structure probably replaced an earlier Norman church built on the site. It is built of ironstone with some grey limestone dressings. The churchyard is well-maintained, and has some mature trees along the perimeter.

    The wood, which covers 12 ha, is owned by the Wildlife Trust and is part of the Eye Brook Valley Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

    Assessed in 2018 and designated a candidate Local Wildlife Site, Greetham Garage verge is located either side of the entrance to Greetham Garage, on Greetham Road by the A1. The verges are wide, flat by the road and banked up to the rear, backed by a tall Hawthorn hedge. The habitat is mostly calcareous grassland, and is species-rich, with wildflowers dominant over grasses. The site is mostly likely of recent origin due to alterations to the junction.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2003, Greetham verge is located on Thistleton Lane, leading up to Cottesmore Airfield. The site is approximately 1300 metres long, and included the verges on both sides of the road. The main habitats are mesotrophic grassland, calcareous grassland, and mixed grassland.

    Greetham Wood Far covers 33.6 hectaresand is planted ancient woodland on Glacial Boulder Clay and a small area of Northampton Sand ironstone.

    Greetham Wood Near and Far are the woods that border the A1 near Greetham and the Ram Jam Inn. They are both coniferous plantations and have forestry tracks to walk through. These woods are an important feature in the local landscape.

    These three woodlands make up an area of mixed aged trees, hedgerows, grasslands and open space.  Gresley Wood is a 42 hectare site with a history of farming and opencast mining. Tunnel Woods is community woodland and both of these sites are owned by the Forestry Commission. The neighbouring Princess Diana Wood is a developing woodland with excellent access and is owned by the National Forest Charitable Trust.

    Groby Pool is situated on the southern edge of the Charnwood Forest and is reputedly the largest natural expanse of open water in Leicestershire, covering 38 acres (15 ha). There was no mention of a lake in the Domesday Book, though it has been referred to since 1297. Research into the Lake sediments has confirmed that Groby Pool is of relatively recent origin. It may have resulted from the damming of Slate Brook in the 12th/13th century by the monks from Leicester abbey.

    This stretch of the canal runs south from Bosworth Tunnel to the county boundary. Just before the boundary, the Welford Arm of the canal branches off.

    The main route of the Grand Union Canal, built between 1793 and 1814, is from London to Birmingham but it has several 'arms' including that which runs to Leicester and beyond into Nottinghamshire. This is a navigable route and has a public footpath (towpath) along the full length. As with most canals, the shallow water (typically around 1.2m) and shallower edges provides good habitat for emergent aquatic vegetation, which in turn supports a wide range of invertebrates.

    The main route of the Grand Union Canal, built between 1793 and 1814, is from London to Birmingham but it has several 'arms' including that which runs to Leicester and beyond into Nottinghamshire. This is a navigable route and has a public footpath (towpath) along the full length. As with most canals, the shallow water (typically around 1.2m) and shallower edges provides good habitat for emergent aquatic vegetation, which in turn supports a wide range of invertebrates.

    The main route of the Grand Union Canal, built between 1793 and 1814, is from London to Birmingham but it has several 'arms' including that which runs to Leicester and beyond into Nottinghamshire. This is a navigable route and has a public footpath (towpath) along the full length. As with most canals, the shallow water (typically around 1.2m) and shallower edges provides good habitat for emergent aquatic vegetation, which in turn supports a wide range of invertebrates.

    The main route of the Grand Union Canal, built between 1793 and 1814, is from London to Birmingham but it has several 'arms' including that which runs to Leicester and beyond into Nottinghamshire. This is a navigable route and has a public footpath (towpath) along the full length. As with most canals, the shallow water (typically around 1.2m) and shallower edges provides good habitat for emergent aquatic vegetation, which in turn supports a wide range of invertebrates.

    This short spur of canal splits from the Leicester arm at Foxton locks and extends into Market Harborough.

    The main route of the Grand Union Canal, built between 1793 and 1814, is from London to Birmingham but it has several 'arms' including that which runs to Leicester and beyond into Nottinghamshire. This is a navigable route and has a public footpath (towpath) along the full length. As with most canals, the shallow water (typically around 1.2m) and shallower edges provides good habitat for emergent aquatic vegetation, which in turn supports a wide range of invertebrates.