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.

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.

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.

This area had been fields up until the late 1930s 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 1970s and converted into Franklin Park, all the existing hedges were retained.

Franklin Park Community Orchard was created in 2007 when Leicester City Council sold off 1.1 hectares of disused allotment space. This has now been converted to a Community orchard, a wild flower meadow, a pond and two separate wild life areas. The site is only open at specific times of year in order to protect the wildlife that lives there.

Gilroes Cemetery is Leicester's largest municipal cemetery. Opened in 1902, it contains Leicester's main crematorium. The site contains many mature trees. 
Glen Parva Local Nature Reserve covers 27 acres and was officially opened on 17th November 2010. The site is close to the Grand Union Canal and contains unimproved grassland habitat which is part of what was once a country-wide network of hay meadows and unimproved pasture.

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.

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.

This western part of the Grantham Canal in Leics stretches 2.5 miles from the county boundary at the River Smite aqueduct north of Long Clawson, eastwards past Hose, to Harby. The Grantham Canal was built to supply coal to Grantham and runs from the River Trent in Nottingham for 33 miles to Grantham. The Canal was opened in 1797 and closed to traffic in 1929.

Forming the eastern section of the Grantham Canal in Leics this site stretches nearly 4 miles from Redmile eastwards to the county boundary south of Muston. The Canal was built to supply coal to Grantham and runs from the River Trent in Nottingham for 33 miles to Grantham. It opened in 1797 and closed to traffic in 1929.

The wood, which covers 12 ha, is owned by the Wildlife Trust and is part of the Eye Brook Valley Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

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 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.

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 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.

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.
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.