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 use the filters below to find sites in your district or parish, or 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.

20 Acre Piece NR

This 8 acre site at Six Hills is owned by the Duke of Somerset and is part of a large area of common land known as Burton Common. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and was, until 2010, managed as a reserve by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. A public footpath runs through the middle of the site. It has a mosaic of grassland, scrub and woodland - standing on poorly drained acid soil.

Abbey Park

Abbey Park is Leicester’s premier park and lies approximately one mile north of the City centre. The River Soar divides this beautiful park into two distinct areas: to the east of the river lies the highly decorative Victorian part of the park with its evergreen shrubberies, trees, lakes and formally planted flower displays and to the west of the river lies the fascinating Abbey Grounds. Within this area are the remains of the twelfth century Leicester Abbey and the ruins of Cavendish House, a seventeenth century mansion.

Altar Stones

The site is a rocky hill with rough heath grassland, stone walls and rocky outcrops. It combines the former Altar Stones Country Park with the adjacent Blacksmith's Field (named after the blacksmith's shop that was located on the corner of the site.

Asfordby Hill

This is an old industrial site, comprised of a sandy soil which is the result of the historic dumping of waste materials from the nearby steel works. It is a mosaic of wildflower-rich grassland and scrub.

Ashby Woulds Trail, Conkers Waterside, Sarahs Wood, Barretts Pool, Moira Furnace

This group of reclaimed greenspaces includes 5 very different sites covering a wide area of land formally used for heavy industry.  This section of the Ashby Woulds Trail links the sites together and includes Sarah’s Wood which was planted in 1995 with designed for access for all, and the Moira Furnace Industrial Heritage site.

Attenborough Arboretum

The Attenborough Arboretum site occupies about five acres and forms part of the land that used to belong to Home Farm.  (The old farm house still exists nearby and has been converted into maisonettes.)  The arboretum features possibly the only surviving example in the city of a mediaeval ridge-and-furrow field and also contains two large ponds.  The arboretum was opened on 23rd April 1997.  About 20 local schools helped in the planting phase in March 1996, and over 40 attended the grand opening ceremony, conducted by Sir David Attenborough, after whose family the arboretum is named.

Aylestone Meadows

Aylestone Meadows is the best area for wildlife within the city of Leicester. It is a sizeable green wedge along the River Soar and Grand Union Canal and is also bisected by the former Great Central Railway line - now a popular walking and cycling route. In the past, a large area of the flood meadows was used as a landfill site and today the landscaped mound is used as a sports pitch. The mixture of aquatic habitats, grazed meadows, ponds and rough grassland provides a rich and diverse habitat for much wildlife.

Bardon Hill

Bardon Hill, near Coalville, is the highest point in Leicestershire, 278 metres (912 feet) above sea level. The hill has two very distinct faces – one half preserved as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the other removed by Bardon Hill Quarry. It is also the site of a radio mast. Though it is the highest point in Leicestershire, it is easy to get to the top and the summit offers tremendous views across the county plus a dramatic vista over the adjacent quarry.

Billa Barra, Markfield

This 20 hectare local nature reserve, located in the north of the borough of Hinckley and Bosworth, consists of a variety of habitats including acid grassland, which is ecologically significant at a local level. Additionally, there are a number of rocky outcrops of Markfieldite, making the hill a regionally important geological site.

The site consists of formerly improved pasture, surrounding a small hilltop plantation, dating from the late 1800's/early 1900's, and a small quarry.

Blaby Cemetery

This site, managed by Blaby Parish Council, includes the 'old cemetery', established in the later 19th century, which is managed as a nature area. The old cemetery is particularly good for wildlife due to its mix of meadow, trees and hedgerow.

Brocks Hill Country Park

Brocks Hill is a relatively new country park with a large visitor centre, built as a demonstration building for environmental technologies and with a cafe, toilets and exhibition area. The park has a large pond with dipping platforms, meadows and many young trees. Though a new park, some of the grassland is older and contains a few interesting plants. Lucas's Marsh, a Wildlife Trust nature reserve, adjoins the park.

Burroughs Lane, Ratby

This quiet country lane offers a lovely walk into the National Forest, with rolling hills, new woodland and a historic landscape around you. The lane only offers access to a few houses but there is a very small car park at Burroughs Wood. At the end of the lane there is a tarmac cycle path that weaves its way to Thornton Reservoir. It is just possible to glimpse Bury Camp, a large Iron Age settlement, now on private land about 150 metres from the road.