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:

    • click on the sites on the map below to find their details,
    • 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.

    The site was previously orchards and allotments which were decommissioned and allowed to grow wild for some time.  Since 1985 the site has been in some form of conservation management with a number of organisations taking on this role.  Currently it is being managed by the City Council’s Leicester Environmental Volunteers and Parks Services.
    The site is designated as a Local Nature Reserve and also a Local Wildlife Site due to the rich mosaic of woodland, scrub and grassland.

    This site is an area of unimproved grassland with stands of sedge situated alongside the River Soar. It also features hedgerows, ditches and boggy ground including a previous water course.  The fields are the core area of what was once a larger Aylestone Bog, part of which is now buried under the playing fields to the west. It is maintained through grazing by English Longhorn cattle during the summer months.

    Thomas Estley Community College is located in the centre of Broughton Astley village, serving 11 - 14 year olds. TECC is a modern school with a large green space, used mainly as playing fields but with a few mature trees and hedges along some its boundaries. We have included TECC as a Wild Space because of the special interest by the staff and pupils in learning more about the wildlife on their site and their support for the Broughton Astley NatureSpot development.

    These meadows are long-establish and unimproved meadows which are being restored through an appropriate mowing regime. The Leicestershire Round footpath cuts across the site. A playground and multi-use games area have been built in part of the site and the north-east corner has been flattened as a football area. However the surrounding meadows are wonderfully rich.

    Owned by Severn Trent Water, Thornton Reservoir was opened to the public in 1997. Excellent for bird watching with good access via the circular walk around the reservoir.
    Tilton Cutting covers 3.1 ha and is owned by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. This is a Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest and is the best site in the East Midlands for demonstrating the sequence of rocks laid down about 180 million years ago. 

    Previously known as Cradock's Meadow, Tom Long's Meadow is a narrow strip of marsh and wet woodland in the heart of Quorn. The site has grown significantly wetter in recent years due to an increase in building developments nearby, and is now predominantly home to riparian species and wet woodland habitat. It serves as part of a vital wildlife corridor through this area of Charnwood and in proximity to the River Soar. The site is bordered on one side by the Poulteney Brook.

    The stewardship farm site at Ullsthorpe is a relatively undiscovered nature hot spot, perhaps because it is not easily visible from any road. The site itself is based around a raised area of disused railway track which provides easy walking, whilst other attractive short walks run off to either side into fields and more wooded areas. Because this is a stewardship farm site it is managed with wildlife in mind and the public are welcomed.

    Ulverscroft Nature Reserve covers 56 ha. Much of it lies within the Ulverscroft Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is an excellent site with different woodland types, heathland, grassland, scrub and marsh. Poultney Wood, Fox Covert, the Valley Marshes and Herbert's Meadow are owned by the Trust. The rest of the reserve is owned by the National Trust and is managed by the Trust.

    Founded in 1921 with the assistance of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society, the University of Leicester Botanic Garden was established on its present site in Oadby in 1947. The variety of habitats and plants make this site a magnet for a wide range of wildlife. It is particularly good for bees and other nectar-feeding insects due to the abundance of flowers, with some plants in flower virtually every month of the year. The various water features attract dragonflies and damselflies.

    Towpath is an excellent site for wildlife, containing a number of small ponds and marshy grassland areas. The site includes the historic endpoint of the Ashby Canal which was home to a huge pipeworks. The neighbouring Swainspark Wood is approximately 10 ha and is an established woodland with trees that are 20-50 years old. The wood also has a history of workings for clay and coal. 

    Wanlip Meadows covers 16.2 ha and was purchased by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in 2004. The site  was quarried for gravel during the 1990's and has now been regenerated as an important part of the Soar Valley wildlife corridor.

    The Wash Brook Nature Reserve is a large triangular Public Open Space (POS) (2.8 hectares approx) located within Knighton Ward and owned and managed by Leicester City Council. It is bisected by the Wash Brook. The Midland Mainline Railway forms the Western boundary.

    Watermead Country Park is a 140-hectare site that is nearly two miles long and as its name suggests it is a wetland area with over 12 lakes and smaller ponds. The Park is developing one of the largest reedbed areas in the Midlands and has five birdhides, including a 2-storey hide. Running through the Park are the River Soar and Grand Union Canal which provide an essential corridor for wildlife. It has a good network of suraced paths.

    This wildlife corridor follows Rothley Brook going towards Anstey. A stream joins it beside the sports ground and the land between has been planted with shrubs. It has mown paths to provide good access. The  east side of the stream and brook has also been planted with wild flowers and shrubs. The watercourse is bordered by mature trees but has an open aspect in places with farmland to the west and the sports fields to the east. A path through it continues along the brookside beyond the parish and under the A46 towards Anstey.

    The Welbeck site is located to the south west of Burbage and is clearly defined to the south by the well treed corridor of Watling Street. A well maintained bridleway, lined by an avenue of mature Lime trees, runs the full length of the site's eastern boundary. The urban area of Burbage adjoins the site on the eastern edge.

    Welford Road Cemetery was opened in 1849 and covers 6.9 ha.  The site is an important green space in the City of Leicester and contains many mature trees. 

    Western Park was once part of the Leicester Forest (mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1089) and was an important game preserve where the Earls of Leicester and their descendants hunted. An Oak tree still remains from this period and is affectionately known as ‘Old Major’. At the beginning of the 19th Century, Leicester Corporation purchased the land for £30,000, to create a park for the people of the West End. The park is extensive and includes many different habitats: meadow grassland, exposed rock, ponds, new woodland and a stream.