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.

Fishpond Plantation

In 2004 Fishpond Plantation was bought by the Parish Council on behalf of the village with villagers’ donations and grants from Leicestershire County Council and Charnwood Borough Council. The Plantation is close to the centre of the village and covers 1.6 hectares; all that remains of a larger wood. There has been woodland here for at least 300 years, probably due to the area being quarried for gypsum and then being unsuitable for agriculture.

Fosse Meadows, Sharnford

This site of approximately 20 acres was opened in 1993 with extensive grassland, woodland, ponds and a small lake with a bird hide. The areas of woodland are maturing well now and the whole site supports a rich diversity supporting good populations of birds and insects.

Franklin Park

This area had been fields up until the late 1930's when new housing development started. However, as war was imminent no further house building took place and the field was turned over to the Ministry of Food. After the war the field was acquired by Leicester City Council for allotments.

Part of the allotments were sold to the Town Council in the 1970’s and converted into Franklin Park, all the existing hedges were retained. 

Grace Dieu

The area around the ruins of Grace Dieu Priory are very varied and offer rich and diverse habitats for wildlife. Meadows, ponds, streams, a disused quarry and extensive woodland present a fascinating landscape which has revealed many surprising plants and animals. The area is now managed as public open space (except the old quarry) and there is no charge for entry.

Grantham Canal (Harby to Redmile)

This central part of the Grantham Canal stretches for 5 miles from Harby eastwards through Plungar and Barkestone-le-Vale to Redmile. A Site of Special Scientific Interest covers most of this section stretching from Rectory Bridge, Harby (bridge no.44) to Redmile Mill Bridge (no.53). The Canal opened in 1797 and was closed to boat traffic in 1929. After several decades of public ownership the management of the Canal passed from British Waterways to the newly formed Canal and River Trust in 2012.

Gresley Wood, Tunnel Wood, Princess Diana Wood

These three woodlands make up an area of mixed aged trees, hedgerows, grasslands and open space.  Gresley Wood is a 42 hectare site with a history of farming and opencast mining. Tunnel Woods is community woodland and both of these sites are owned by the Forestry Commission. The neighbouring Princess Diana Wood is a developing woodland with excellent access and is owned by the National Forest Charitable Trust.

Groby Pool

Groby Pool is situated on the southern edge of the Charnwood Forest and is reputedly the largest natural expanse of open water in Leicestershire, covering 38 acres (15 ha). There was no mention of a lake in the Domesday Book, though it has been referred to since 1297. Research into the Lake sediments has confirmed that Groby Pool is of relatively recent origin. It may have resulted from the damming of Slate Brook in the 12th/13th century by the monks from Leicester abbey.

Heart of the National Forest

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.
 

Highway Spinney, Leicester

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.

Hill Hole Quarry

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.

Holwell Reserves

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.

Jubilee Walk, Leire

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