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)

    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 section runs south-west from Mowsley Road towards Husbands Bosworth where it enters a long tunnel across the north of the village.

    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.

    At just 1.6km long, the Welford Arm transports you from the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal to the picturesque village of Welford. It lies just south of Husbands Bosworth and near to the county boundary.

    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.

    Mill Field Wood lies adjacent to the canal - a Woodland Trust site with good access.

    This area constitutes a large grassland area surrounded by mature hedges and trees. Grass paths are regularly mown but the remainder is cut only once a year to encourage wild flowers. There is a copse in the south west corner

    This is now a mature woodland with figure of eight paths through it though sometimes these can be muddy. Some of the trees were planted as memorial trees. There is also a sizeable pond in the south-west corner with fluctuating water levels.

    Hambleton St Andrew's church is located at the highest point of the Upper Hambleton peninsula, which extends into Rutland Water from the west. The village is perched on high ground and surrounded on three sides by the waters of the reservoir. Most of the church, built from local Barnock stone, dates from the 12th century, but some Norman features can be found.

    A band of deciduous woodland along the west-facing scarp slope of the Vale of Belvoir. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its colonies of Wild Daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus. The woodland covers about 18 hectares and is dominated by Ash and Sycamore with some Pedunculate Oak, Hawthorn and  Elder. At the southern end is a small area of species-rich grassland and there are springs at several points at the base of the slope.

    This area lies at the centre of the 200 square mile National Forest. Formerly coalfields it has been transformed into an attractive, wooded landscape. The Black to Green project, run jointly by the National Forest and the Wildlife Trust, is working to engage the local community in managing this area and recording the wildlife on its many sites.

    Heather Wood is a young broadleaved woodland planted in the early 2000s  with a range of native species. Dominated by Hazel, Ash and Field Maple with mature English Oak, the trees surround large open meadows. The River Sence runs through the bottom of the woodland.

    Hicks Lodge and Newfields are former coal mining sites that have been totally transformed by landscape reclamation projects. Along with Shellbrook Wood and surrounding areas, these sites offer some of the most ecologically interesting habitats found within the Heart of the National Forest.

    Highway Spinney is a semi-natural woodland and was designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) in 1999. It lies at the edge of Leicester and is separated from its sister woodland, Meynell's Gorse, by Hinckley Road. Conservation work is undertaken by the Friends of Highway Spinney, supported by Groundwork Leicester and Leicestershire.

    This old granite quarry is now managed as a nature reserve. Part of the site is flooded and this is securely fenced off. It is one of the highest points in Leicestershire and offers good view across Markfield and towards Leicester. Its developed was funded by Leicestershire County Council FLAG and Shire Grants and National Forest tree planting grants.

    The main part of the site is ancient woodland, with a more recent plantation to the south west. The wood is now managed by the Coalville Education Partnership, who have developed a plan to restore traditional management practices.

    The wood lies to the south of Whitwick is is encircled by housing on three sides and adjacent to a quarry on the eastern boundary.

    The area south east of Holwell village was originally mined for building stone. There is evidence to suggest that Brown’s Hill Quarry was in existence by 1815. Ironstone was first quarried from the area by the Stanton Ironworks company from 1879 until 1881. Mining resumed in 1918 and continued until 1933 when the company began to work the mine with galleries based on the pillar-and-stall method. Open cast working was reinstated at the quarry between 1953 and 1957 when exploitation ceased.