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.
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.
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.
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.
Wanlip Meadows covers 16.2 ha and was purchased by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in 2004. The site was quarried for gravel during the 1990's and has now been regenerated as an important part of the Soar Valley wildlife corridor.
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 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.
This wildlife corridor follows Rothley Brook going towards Anstey. A stream joins it beside the sports ground and the land between has been planted with some specie shrubs. It has mown paths. The east side of the stream and brook has also been planted with some wild flowers and specie shrubs. The watercourse is treed and wildlife rich but has an open aspect with farmland to the west and the sports fields to the east. A path through it continues along the brook side beyond the parish and can exit either onto Gynsill Lane or go under the A46 towards Anstey.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
This is a small mixed wood planted in the 1890’s for bird shoots and the like. Despite the surrounding recently erected commercial factory/warehouse units this wood has remained unchanged and unmanaged since the 1970’s.
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.
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.
Wymondham Rough covers 12.5 ha and is owned by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. Part of the reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Habitats include neutral grassland, a length of disused canal, deciduous and mixed woodland, ponds, and a marshy area developing between canal and railway.