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.
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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)
This stretch of disused railway line runs between Ratby and Glenfield. Though the original line is broken by an industrial estate a connecting path joins up the two parts. For most of its length it runs parallel with the Rothley Brook and the section that flows under the motorway is included in this site. Much of it is shaded by overhanging trees but in places there is a grassy flora and the bordering field margins add further interest.
Jaguar Lount Wood is large new woodland set within the Staunton Harold Estate. Various planting schemes have been used to create areas of different character from parkland to conifer to walnut plantation. Large areas of open ground, field ponds, streams and ditches all add variety to the habitat. Mature oaks and hedgerows remain from historical farm land usage.
Prestop Park is a 26 ha site comprising of broadleaved and conifer trees along with a small wetland area. The neighbouring John’s Wood is 35 ha containing extensive areas of poplar, grasslands and a newly created pond.
The Jubilee Walk is a beautiful and serene walk along an old railway cutting at Leire which runs towards the golf course near Ullesthorpe. Work by the Leire Council and volunteers ensure that this is kept clear for walkers. It should be noted that access from the parking area is on a short slope but steps have been provided. The cutting can be a real sun trap in warmer months, but may be quite damp and require boots or wellingtons in early spring before the ground dries out. in 2010 more work was done to make pathways through the damper areas easier for walke
The Jubilee Way was opened in 1977, to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. This twenty-mile walk starts farther south in Leicestershire and passes through Melton Mowbray on its way northwards to the Vale of Belvoir. It ends just east of Belvoir Castle at Woolsthorpe where it links with another long distance path - the Viking Way.
Jubilee Wood comprises ten hectares of mixed woodland with rocky outcrops, and was presented to Leicestershire County Council in 1977 to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. The site is part of the network of woods to the south west of Loughborough that includes the Outwoods and Beacon Hill.
The village of Ketton lies to the southeast of Rutlant Water, with the River Chater running through it. St Mary the Virgin church is quite spectacular for its spire, and boasts a large churchyard, some of which was removed when the adjacent road was widened, yet still contains many trees and areas to explore.
Ketton Quarry is an active limestone quarry, but the reserve is a long worked-out part of the site. It consists of hills, holes and a few rocky outcrops that have been colonised by a wide range of calcareous limestone plants. Parts of the site have become scrubbed over and there is a planted beech wood. The reserve is leased by the Wildlife Trust from Castle Cement and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2003, Ketton verge is a 1-kilometer-stretch of Barrowden Road, on both sides of the road. The main habitats are mesotrophic grassland, calcareous grassland and mixed grassland.
Kirby Frith Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is the last (and fortunately probably the richest) fragment of a much larger area of unimproved and semi-improved grassland. It is adjacent to the former Western Golf-course Local Wildlife Site, and was originally part of the golf-course. It is now surrounded on three sides by roads and industry, and is designated as public open space as well as a Local Wildlife Site. It is managed by cut and bale with removal of arisings to retain low nutrients and encourage greater diversity.
This historic site supports a range of interesting wildlife, particularly due to the moat and adjacent brook. Whilst access into the castle ruins is restricted and requires an entrance fee, it is possible to walk around the outside of the moat for free.
This site is made up of two adjacent areas in the former village of Knighton. Knighton Green lies east of the churchyard along the Washbrook and includes a large area of amenity grassland, stands of trees and the banks of the stream. The local group ‘Knighton Wild’ has regular working parties here to improve the site for wildlife and also carries out wildlife recording.
Knighton Park is a significant area of green open space at the southern boundary of the ward, where it meets with Oadby and Wigston. It contains Knighton Spinney, which is a local nature reserve, and is open to the public on some Sundays. The Saffron Brook runs through the park, and there is a pond in the Heath Garden, both of which provide habitats for a number of aquatic species. The park contains a large number of native and ornamental trees, and there is a tree trail to guide visitors round 20 interesting and significant trees.
Launde Big Wood covers 42 ha and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust does not control the shooting rights to this reserve - before visiting check the dates when shooting will be taking place.
Launde Park Wood extends over 57 ha. The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust does not control the shooting rights to this reserve - before visiting check the dates when shooting will be taking place.
This 12 hectare site is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a nature reserve owned by the Wild Trust. Lea Meadows has a history that can be traced back seven centuries and was once part of a mediaeval assart (private land taken from common land). The other part of the assart is the adjacent Lea Wood and together they form an intriguing oval shape on the map. It is mainly an undulating wildflower meadow with some marshy areas and is bisected by a stream.
Surveyed in 2009 and designated a candidate Local Wildlife Site, the former quarry at Little Casterton occupies 35.3 hectares. The site is a mosaic of habitats, with ponds, scrubland, mesotrophic grassland, and woodland, including a plantation broad-leaved wood (100-150 years old) of approximately 4.8 hectares in size.
Designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2005, Little Casterton verge is located on Little Casterton Road, just south of the village. The site includes both sides of the road, with the eastern side 1,026 metres and the western side 1,240 metres in length. The main habitats are mesotrophic and calcareous grassland. The east side is recorded to be the more species rich.