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)

    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 was created by Blaby District Council and constitutes a large grassland area surrounded by mature hedges and trees.

    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.

    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 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.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2011, the Hooby Lane Greetham verge is approximately 582 metres in length, on the southern side of the road only. The verge is roughly 3 metres wide, and the main habitats are calcareous grassland and mixed grassland.

    Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2005, the Hooby Lane Stretton verge is 230 metres in length, and up to 2.5 metres wide between the tarmac and an unkempt hedge, on the northern side of the road only. The main habitat is mesotrophic grassland, and is reported to be dominated by tall grasses but in reasonable condition.

    Humberstone Park was opened in 1925 and covers 20 acres. The Bushby Brook and old Great Northern Railway embankment have been incorporated into the park to create havens for wildlife.

    Part of the Ivanhoe Trail cycle route and also the Ivanhoe Way long distance footpath as it passes through Glenfield. It starts at Station Road (Railway pub) in Glenfield and follows the old railway, running alongside Rothley Brook. The embankment slopes and brook's edges are well wooded creating a wonderful wildlife corridor. Just south of Barrow Lane is the wildest stretch of this rivulet where Kingfishers have been recorded. Beyond the brook is open farmland and remains of an old watermill.