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.

Tom Longs Meadow

Previously known as Cradock's Meadow, Tom Long's Meadow is a narrow strip of marsh and wet woodland in the heart of Quorn. The site has grown significantly wetter in recent years due to an increase in building developments nearby, and is now predominantly home to riparian species and wet woodland habitat. It serves as part of a vital wildlife corridor through this area of Charnwood and in proximity to the River Soar. The site is bordered on one side by the Poulteney Brook.

Ullesthorpe Stewardship Farm

The stewardship farm site at Ullsthorpe is a relatively undiscovered nature hot spot, perhaps because it is not easily visible from any road. The site itself is based around a raised area of disused railway track which provides easy walking, whilst other attractive short walks run off to either side into fields and more wooded areas. Because this is a stewardship farm site it is managed with wildlife in mind and the public are welcomed.

Ulverscroft NR

Ulverscroft Nature Reserve covers 56 ha. Much of it lies within the Ulverscroft Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is an excellent site with different woodland types, heathland, grassland, scrub and marsh.

Poultney Wood, Fox Covert, the Valley Marshes and Herbert's Meadow are owned by the Trust. The rest of the reserve is owned by the National Trust and is managed by the Trust.

University Botanic Gardens

Founded in 1921 with the assistance of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society, the University of Leicester Botanic Garden was established on its present site in Oadby in 1947. The variety of habitats and plants make this site a magnet for a wide range of wildlife. It is particularly good for bees and other nectar-feeding insects due to the abundance of flowers, with some plants in flower virtually every month of the year. The various water features attract dragonflies and damselflies.

Wadlands Wood, Towpath, Swains Park

Towpath is an excellent site for wildlife, containing a number of small ponds and marshy grassland areas. The site includes the historic endpoint of the Ashby Canal which was home to a huge pipeworks. The neighbouring Swainspark Wood is approximately 10 ha and is an established woodland with trees that are 20-50 years old. The wood also has a history of workings for clay and coal. 

Wash Brook Nature Reserve

The Wash Brook Nature Reserve is a large triangular Public Open Space (POS) (2.8 hectares approx) located within Knighton Ward and owned and managed by Leicester City Council. It is bisected by the Wash Brook. The Midland Mainline Railway forms the Western boundary.

Watermead Country Park

Watermead Country Park is a 140-hectare site that is nearly two miles long and as its name suggests it is a wetland area with over 12 lakes and smaller ponds. The Park is developing one of the largest reedbed areas in the Midlands and has five birdhides, including a 2-storey hide. Running through the Park are the River Soar and Grand Union Canal which provide an essential corridor for wildlife. It has a good network of suraced paths.

Welbeck, Burbage

The Welbeck site is located to the south west of Burbage and is clearly defined to the south by the well treed corridor of Watling Street.  A well maintained bridleway, lined by an avenue of mature Lime trees, runs the full length of the site's eastern boundary.  The urban area of Burbage adjoins the site on the eastern edge.  The whole site is covered by an area Tree Preservation Order (TPO), reference 75/00003/TPORD.
 

Western Park

Western Park was once part of the Leicester Forest (mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1089) and was an important game preserve where the Earls of Leicester and their descendants hunted. An Oak tree still remains from this period and is affectionately known as ‘Old Major’. At the beginning of the 19th Century, Leicester Corporation purchased the land for £30,000, to create a park for the people of the West End. The park is extensive and includes many different habitats: meadow grassland, exposed rock, ponds, new woodland and a stream.

Willesley Wood, Oakthorpe Picnic Area

Willesley Wood was the first site within the National Forest to be planted with trees over 25 years ago. This beautiful wood is now contains a mosaic of maturing woodland, flower meadows and wetland. The neighbouring Oakthorpe Picnic Site contains a mixture of habitats including woodland, semi improved grassland and wildflower areas. Both sites are home to a wide range of increasingly interesting flora and fauna.

Winstanley Rough

This is a small lozenge shape of embankment and stream between the Winstanley College and the Lubbesthorpe Way. It was originally part of the school grounds but was fenced off in 2006-7 for security reasons. The land has now reverted to scrubland with boggy edges to the stream.

Wirlybones Wood, Ratby

This site was established by Cawrey Homes and the National Forest along the line of a brook. It has newly planted woodland and rough grassland, bordered by mature hedges. A public footpath runs through the site which forms part of a circular walk from Ratby.

Woodgate, Burbage

This 4 hectare site has a number of different habitats, principally mesotrophic grassland, wet woodland, a pond and flood meadow. It additionally has areas of rough grassland and scrub and several mature Ash and Oak trees.

Wymeswold Meadows

These meadows are owned by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust and were originally part of common land used by Wymeswold villagers, traditionally for cattle grazing. The land is unimproved grassland on calcareous Boulder Clay and bisected by a stream which is deeply cut into the meadows.