List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Leicestershire

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Ulverscroft Valley
The stream running through Lea Meadows has white-clawed crayfish and brook lampreys, both of which are legally protected.[1] It is part of Ulverscroft Valley.

Leicestershire is a county in the East Midlands of England with an area of 833 square miles (2,160 km2),[2] and a population according to the 2011 census of 980,000.[3] Leicester City Council is a unitary authority,[4] and the rest of the county is administered by Leicestershire County Council at the top level, with seven district councils in the second tier, Blaby, Charnwood, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Melton, North West Leicestershire and Oadby and Wigston.[5]

In England, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are designated by Natural England, a non-departmental public body which is responsible for protecting England's natural environment. Designation as an SSSI gives legal protection to the most important wildlife and geological sites.[6] As of January 2018, there are seventy-six SSSIs in the county,[7] fifty-seven of which are designated for their biology, twelve for their geology and seven for both criteria.

There are nineteen Geological Conservation Review sites, six Nature Conservation Review sites, one Special Area of Conservation, three National Nature Reserves, two are Common Land, and three contain Scheduled Monuments. One site is a Local Nature Reserve, thirteen are managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, and one by the National Trust. The largest site is Bradgate Park and Cropston Reservoir at 399.3 hectares (987 acres). It has rocks dating to the Ediacaran period around 600 million years ago, and is very important for the study of Precambrian palaeontology.[8] The smallest is Gipsy Lane Pit at 0.5 hectares (1.2 acres), which is important to mineralogists as it is rich in sulphides, some of which are unidentified.[9]

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Key[edit]

Sites[edit]

Site name Photograph B G Area[a] Public
access
Location[a] Other
classifications
Map[b] Citation[c] Description[d]
Allexton Wood Allexton Wood Green tickY 25.8 hectares
(64 acres)
[10]
NO Uppingham
52°35′10″N 0°47′17″W / 52.586°N 0.788°W / 52.586; -0.788 (Allexton Wood)
SP822994
[10]
Map Citation This coppice semi-natural wood is on soils derived from glacial and Jurassic clays. The dominant tree is ash, and elm and pedunculate oak are also common. There are several small streams with populations of opposite-leaved golden saxifrage.[11]
Ashby Canal Ashby Canal Green tickY 15.4 hectares
(38 acres)
[12]
YES Leicester
52°39′43″N 1°27′47″W / 52.662°N 1.463°W / 52.662; -1.463 (Ashby Canal)
SK364073
[12]
Map Citation The site has diverse aquatic flora and invertebrates, and the submerged plants are of particular interest. These include mare's tail, spiked water-milfoil and perfoliate pondweed. Nine species of dragonfly have been recorded, and there are also water shrews and the nationally rare water beetle haliplus mucronatus.[13]
Bardon Hill Bardon Hill Green tickY 13 hectares
(32 acres)
[14]
YES Coalville
52°42′43″N 1°19′12″W / 52.712°N 1.32°W / 52.712; -1.32 (Bardon Hill)
SK460130
[14]
Map Citation The hill is a surviving fragment of the formerly extensive Charnwood Forest, and it has both woodland and heath. Mature oak dominates the lower slopes, with pine plantation higher up, and a mixture of heath, acid grassland, rock outcrops and scrub oak at the top. The hill is notable for its lichens and invertebrates, especially spiders with 133 species including the rare Tetrilus macrophthalmus.[15]
Bardon Hill Quarry Bardon Hill Quarry Green tickY 58.1 hectares
(144 acres)
[16]
NO Coalville
52°42′40″N 1°19′44″W / 52.711°N 1.329°W / 52.711; -1.329 (Bardon Hill Quarry)
SK454129
[16]
GCR[17][18] Map Citation This quarry has been operated for over 400 years and produces three million tonnes of crushed rock a year, about 15% of the total production in the United Kingdom. It exposes rocks from an andesitic Precambrian volcano, similar to the 1995 Montserrat eruption, about 570 million years ago. There are veins of quartz containing copper and gold.[19]
Barrow Gravel Pits Barrow Gravel Pits Green tickY 35.7 hectares
(88 acres)
[20]
YES Loughborough
52°44′38″N 1°09′29″W / 52.744°N 1.158°W / 52.744; -1.158 (Barrow Gravel Pits)
SK569166
[20]
Map Citation This site in the flood plain of the River Soar has open water in the former gravel pits, marshes, hay meadows, woodland and scrub. Aquatic plants include yellow water lily, rigid hornwort, lesser pondweed and fan-leaved water crowfoot.[21]
Beacon Hill, Hangingstone and Outwoods Beacon Hill Green tickY Green tickY 147.4 hectares
(364 acres)
[22]
PP Loughborough
52°44′28″N 1°14′24″W / 52.741°N 1.24°W / 52.741; -1.24 (Beacon Hill, Hangingstone and Outwoods)
SK514163
[22]
GCR,[23] NCR[22] Map Citation Beacon Hill has diverse breeding birds, such as green woodpeckers, tawny owls and tree pipits, and it is one of only three sites in the county with breeding palmate newts. The Outwoods and Hangingstone are of international importance for their fossils of early Precambrian life forms.[24]
Benscliffe Wood Benscliffe Wood Green tickY 9.8 hectares
(24 acres)
[25]
NO Leicester
52°42′32″N 1°14′31″W / 52.709°N 1.242°W / 52.709; -1.242 (Benscliffe Wood)
SK513127
[25]
Map Citation This wood has one of the richest varieties of lichens in the East Midlands, with over thirty species growing on Precambrian rocks. Eleven of the species are rare in the county.[26]
Blackbrook Reservoir Blackbrook Reservoir Green tickY 39.3 hectares
(97 acres)
[27]
FP Shepshed
52°45′04″N 1°19′19″W / 52.751°N 1.322°W / 52.751; -1.322 (Blackbrook Reservoir)
SK458173
[27]
Map Citation The reservoir has a plant community on its margins which is unique in the Midlands and only found in a few northern sites. Its unusual mix of flora includes Juncus filiformis at its most southern locations, and the lake itself has native white-clawed crayfish, where it is isolated from the invasive American signal crayfish.[28]
Botcheston Bog Botcheston Bog Green tickY 2.8 hectares
(6.9 acres)
[29]
NO Leicester
52°38′13″N 1°17′02″W / 52.637°N 1.284°W / 52.637; -1.284 (Botcheston Bog)
SK485047
[29]
Map Citation This grazed marsh on peaty soil is dominated by carnation sedge, hard rush, creeping bent and meadowsweet. Other plants include several which are rare in the county.[30]
Bradgate Park and Cropston Reservoir Cropston Reservoir Green tickY Green tickY 399.3 hectares
(987 acres)
[31]
YES Leicester
52°41′20″N 1°13′01″W / 52.689°N 1.217°W / 52.689; -1.217 (Bradgate Park and Cropston Reservoir)
SK530105
[31]
GCR,[32][33] SM[34] Map Citation Bradgate Park has one of the best examples of ancient parkland in the county, and Cropston Reservoir has unusual plants on its shores. The park has Charnian rocks dating to the Ediacaran period around 600 million years ago, and it has provided the type section for four different members of the stratigraphic sequence. It is described by Natural England as "a site of great importance to the study of Precambrian palaeontology".[8][35]
Breedon Cloud Wood and Quarry Breedon Quarry Green tickY Green tickY 63.2 hectares
(156 acres)
[36]
PP Loughborough
52°47′10″N 1°23′13″W / 52.786°N 1.387°W / 52.786; -1.387 (Breedon Cloud Wood and Quarry)
SK414212
[36]
GCR,[37] LRWT[38] Map Citation Cloud Wood is an ancient semi-natural wood on clay. It has a very diverse ground flora, including pendulous sedge, yellow archangel and giant bellflower. The quarry is a nationally important geological locality, exposing a Lower Carboniferous succession deposited in shallow seas.[39]
Breedon Hill Breedon Hill Green tickY 5.2 hectares
(13 acres)
[40]
YES Loughborough
52°48′14″N 1°24′07″W / 52.804°N 1.402°W / 52.804; -1.402 (Breedon Hill)
SK404232
[40]
Map Citation This is the largest area of species rich carboniferous limestone in the county. Herbs include bulbous buttercup, harebell, burnet saxifrage, musk thistle and hairy violet.[41]
Briery Wood Heronry, Belvoir Briery Wood Heronry Green tickY 5.7 hectares
(14 acres)
[42]
NO Grantham
52°53′13″N 0°46′30″W / 52.887°N 0.775°W / 52.887; -0.775 (Briery Wood Heronry, Belvoir)
SK825329
[42]
Map Citation This is the largest heronry in the county, with up to thirty breeding pairs. The dominant trees are mature oaks and ash, with a ground flora of bracken and dog's mercury.[43]
Buddon Wood and Swithland Reservoir Swithland Reservoir Green tickY Green tickY 187.1 hectares
(462 acres)
[44]
NO Leicester
52°43′37″N 1°10′12″W / 52.727°N 1.17°W / 52.727; -1.17 (Buddon Wood and Swithland Reservoir)
SK561147
[44]
GCR[45] Map Citation The reservoir provides a refuge for waterfowl during the winter, and Buddon Wood has over 200 species of vascular plants, a third of British spider species including one which is nationally rare, 20 butterflies and 200 moths. Buddon Hill quarry is geologically important, and it is disputed whether an area of andesite dates to the Cambrian or the earlier Ediacaran.[46]
Burbage Wood and Aston Firs Burbage Wood and Aston Firs Green tickY 51.1 hectares
(126 acres)
[47]
PP Hinckley
52°32′28″N 1°20′02″W / 52.541°N 1.334°W / 52.541; -1.334 (Burbage Wood and Aston Firs)
SP452940
[47]
LNR[48] Map Citation These semi-natural woods on poorly drained soils are dominated by ash and oak. Hazel and hawthorn are common in the shrub layer, and there are flowers such as sweet woodruff and water avens.[49]
Cave's Inn Pits Cave's Inn Pits Green tickY 5.8 hectares
(14 acres)
[50]
NO Lutterworth
52°25′N 1°13′W / 52.41°N 1.21°W / 52.41; -1.21 (Cave's Inn Pits)
SP538795
[50]
Map Citation These disused gravel workings have some of the best neutral marsh in the county, with varied habitats also including scrub, species-rich grassland and shallow pools. There are diverse species of breeding birds.[51]
Charnwood Lodge Charnwood Lodge Green tickY Green tickY 134.2 hectares
(332 acres)
[52]
PP Coalville
52°43′59″N 1°18′43″W / 52.733°N 1.312°W / 52.733; -1.312 (Charnwood Lodge)
SK465153
[52]
GCR,[53][54] LRWT,[55] NNR[56] Map Citation This is the largest area of moorland in the East Midlands, and it is mainly covered by bracken on dry hills, while wet heath is dominated by purple moor-grass. The site is geologically important for the 'bomb' rocks, volcanic blocks dating the Ediacaran period around 600 million years ago.[55][57]
Chater Valley Chater Valley Green tickY 3.8 hectares
(9.4 acres)
[58]
NO Uppingham
52°37′55″N 0°48′58″W / 52.632°N 0.816°W / 52.632; -0.816 (Chater Valley)
SK802045
[58]
Map Citation This steeply sloping stretch of the valley of the River Chater is a semi-natural mosaic of grassland and spring-fed marsh. There are diverse breeding birds, invertebrates and herbs, including tormentil, betony and one of the few populations in the county of moonwort.[59]
Cliffe Hill Quarry Cliffe Hill Quarry Green tickY 19.2 hectares
(47 acres)
[60]
NO Coalville
52°41′28″N 1°18′00″W / 52.691°N 1.3°W / 52.691; -1.3 (Cliffe Hill Quarry)
SK474107
[60]
GCR[61] Map Citation This quarry on the western outskirts of Markfield exposes volcanic and sedimentary Charnian rocks dating to the Precambrian eon. It was probably then a volcanic island. The rare mineral diorite is sometimes called markfieldite because it is found in the village.[62]
Coalville Meadows Coalville Meadows Green tickY 6 hectares
(15 acres)
[63]
YES Coalville
52°44′N 1°20′W / 52.73°N 1.34°W / 52.73; -1.34 (Coalville Meadows)
SK446150
[63]
Map Citation These meadows on poorly drained clay soils are dominated by great burnet, red fescue, Yorkshire fog and tufted hair-grass. Herbs include pignut and heath bedstraw.[64]
Cotes Grassland Cotes Grassland Green tickY 3.2 hectares
(7.9 acres)
[65]
YES Loughborough
52°46′52″N 1°10′52″W / 52.781°N 1.181°W / 52.781; -1.181 (Cotes Grassland)
SK553208
[65]
Map Citation This meadow on the bank of the River Soar has a thin soil on alluvial river gravels. It has several plants which are uncommon in the Midlands, such as soft trefoil, spotted medick, knotted hedge-parsley, wild clary and subterranean trefoil.[66]
Cribb's Lodge Meadows Cribb's Meadow Green tickY 4.1 hectares
(10 acres)
[67]
YES Melton Mowbray
52°45′32″N 0°40′08″W / 52.759°N 0.669°W / 52.759; -0.669 (Cribb's Lodge Meadows)
SK899188
[67]
LRWT,[68] NCR,[69] NNR[56] Map Citation The embankment of a disused railway runs through this ridge and furrow neutral meadow on boulder clay. The diverse flora includes adder's tongue fern, pepper saxifrage, hayrattle and green-winged orchid.[70]
Croft and Huncote Quarry Croft Quarry Green tickY 35.2 hectares
(87 acres)
[71]
NO Hinckley
52°33′47″N 1°14′49″W / 52.563°N 1.247°W / 52.563; -1.247 (Croft and Huncote Quarry)
SP511965
[71]
GCR[72] Map Citation This site exposes igneous tonalite rocks 452 million years old, in the Ordovician period, and it helps to document the growth of continental crust beneath central England. This layer is unconformably overlain by Triassic mineralised manganese.[73]
Croft Hill Croft Hill Green tickY 2.0 hectares
(4.9 acres)
[74]
YES Hinckley
52°33′50″N 1°15′00″W / 52.564°N 1.25°W / 52.564; -1.25 (Croft Hill)
SP509966
[74]
Map Citation This site has short, tussocky grass in an open habitat, a nationally rare vegetation type. The granitic soil is thin and short of nutrients. The nationally scarce upright chickweed is abundant in some areas.[75]
Croft Pasture Croft Pasture Green tickY 6.1 hectares
(15 acres)
[76]
YES Hinckley
52°33′25″N 1°15′00″W / 52.557°N 1.25°W / 52.557; -1.25 (Croft Pasture)
SP509958
[76]
LRWT[77] Map Citation The River Soar runs through this unimproved grazed meadow, which is dominated by common bent and crested dog's-tail. A knoll in the north of the site has uncommon flora such as meadow saxifrage, common stork's-bill and subterranean clover.[77][78]
Croxton Park Croxton Park Green tickY 97.3 hectares
(240 acres)
[79]
PP Melton Mowbray
52°50′24″N 0°47′06″W / 52.84°N 0.785°W / 52.84; -0.785 (Croxton Park)
SK819277
[79]
Map Citation This medieval park has unimproved rough grassland with a scatter of ancient oaks and hawthorns. The breeding birds are diverse, and more than ninety lichen species have been recorded, including many which are uncommon.[80]
Debdale Meadow, Muston Debdale Meadow Green tickY 4.3 hectares
(11 acres)
[81]
NO Grantham
52°56′38″N 0°45′36″W / 52.944°N 0.76°W / 52.944; -0.76 (Debdale Meadow, Muston)
SK834393
[81]
Map Citation This traditionally managed meadow has diverse flora typical of the clay soils of the Midlands, and it has evidence of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation. Flora include cowslip, bulbous buttercup and pepper-saxifrage.[82]
Dimminsdale Dimminsdale Green tickY Green tickY 36.9 hectares
(91 acres)
[83]
PP Coalville
52°47′24″N 1°26′35″W / 52.79°N 1.443°W / 52.79; -1.443 (Dimminsdale)
SK376216
[83]
GCR,[84] LRWT[85] Map[e] Citation Dimminsdale has semi-natural woodland and one of the largest areas of unimproved acidic grassland in the county. Earl Ferrers' lead mine, which is located on the site, has a unique and complex mixture of minerals such as galena and zinc blende; their genesis is little understood and they provide great potential for research.[86]
Donington Park Donington Park Green tickY 38.9 hectares
(96 acres)
[87]
NO Loughborough
52°50′13″N 1°23′10″W / 52.837°N 1.386°W / 52.837; -1.386 (Donington Park)
SK414268
[87]
Map Citation The park was mentioned in the Domesday Book, and it has been managed as a deer park for all of its recorded history. Most of it has a short grass sward, with areas of bracken and ancient oaks, which provide a habitat for rare beetles and spiders.[88]
Enderby Warren Quarry Enderby Warren Quarry Green tickY 1.6 hectares
(4.0 acres)
[89]
NO Leicester
52°35′42″N 1°12′14″W / 52.595°N 1.204°W / 52.595; -1.204 (Enderby Warren Quarry)
SK540000
[89]
GCR[90] Map Citation

This former quarry is described by Natural England as nationally important as it is the only one in Britain where it can be shown that palygorskite clay soil has been formed by the action of groundwater on Triassic and pre-Triassic sediments.[91]

Eye Brook Reservoir Eye Brook Reservoir Green tickY 201.3 hectares
(497 acres)
[92]
NO Uppingham
52°33′04″N 0°44′42″W / 52.551°N 0.745°W / 52.551; -0.745 (Eye Brook Reservoir)
SP 852 955
[92]
Map[f] Citation The reservoir is an important site for wintering wildfowl, such as wigeon, teal, mallard and pochard. Other habitats are marsh, mudflats, grassland, broad-leaved woodland and plantations.[93]
Eye Brook Valley Woods Great Merrible Wood Green tickY 65.7 hectares
(162 acres)
[94]
PP Uppingham
52°33′47″N 0°46′55″W / 52.563°N 0.782°W / 52.563; -0.782 (Eye Brook Valley Woods)
SP826969
[94]
LRWT[95] Map Citation These are surviving fragments of the medieval Leighfield Forest. Park Wood is mainly ash and wych elm, while Bolt Wood and Great Merrible Wood are dominated by ash and field maple. The shrub flora is diverse, and there are also several small pools and marshes.[96]
Frisby Marsh Frisby Marsh Green tickY 10.1 hectares
(25 acres)
[97]
YES Loughborough
52°44′56″N 0°59′06″W / 52.749°N 0.985°W / 52.749; -0.985 (Frisby Marsh)
SK686174
[97]
Map Citation

This site has spring-fed marshes, grassland, woodland and a pool and channel which are the surviving parts of a former ox-bow lake of the adjacent River Wreake. The marshes have a rich flora, with plants such as marsh valerian and marsh arrowgrass.[98]

Gipsy Lane Pit Gipsy Lane Pit Green tickY 0.5 hectares
(1.2 acres)
[99]
NO Leicester
52°39′29″N 1°05′10″W / 52.658°N 1.086°W / 52.658; -1.086 (Gipsy Lane Pit)
SK619071
[99]
GCR[100] Map Citation This site is important to geologists for its Triassic stratigraphy, and to mineralogists as it is rich in sulphides, some of which are unidentified and imperfectly understood compounds. Natural England describes the site's interest as "unique in Britain, and possibly internationally".[9]
Grace Dieu and High Sharpley Grace Dieu and High Sharpley Green tickY Green tickY 86 hectares
(210 acres)
[101]
PP Coalville
52°44′53″N 1°21′07″W / 52.748°N 1.352°W / 52.748; -1.352 (Grace Dieu and High Sharpley)
SK438170
[101]
GCR[102] Map Citation This site is composed of several fragments of the formerly extensive Charnwood Forest, and it has diverse habitats of heath, woodland, rock, scrub and acid grassland. Grace Dieu Quarry exhibits a thin marine Lower Carboniferous layer of Carboniferous Limestone, close to the Midland shoreline around 340 million years ago.[103]
Grantham Canal Grantham Canal Green tickY 9.4 hectares
(23 acres)
[104]
YES Grantham
52°53′42″N 0°52′01″W / 52.895°N 0.867°W / 52.895; -0.867 (Grantham Canal)
SK763337
[104]
Map Citation This site has diverse aquatic and terrestrial habitats, which supports a varied insect community. The canal has floating plants such as fat duckweed and water fern, and there are breeding birds such as sedge warblers, moorhens and reed warblers.[105]
Great Bowden Borrowpit Great Bowden Borrow Green tickY 2.4 hectares
(5.9 acres)
[106]
NO Market Harborough
52°30′04″N 0°54′22″W / 52.501°N 0.906°W / 52.501; -0.906 (Great Bowden Borrowpit)
SP743898
[106]
Map Citation This former railway borrow pit has an unusual marsh, dominated by soft rush, tufted hair grass and cottongrass. Other plants include bulrush and bog moss. Snipe feed on the site.[107]
Groby Pool and Woods Groby Pool Green tickY 29 hectares
(72 acres)
[108]
YES Leicester
52°40′08″N 1°13′59″W / 52.669°N 1.233°W / 52.669; -1.233 (Groby Pool and Woods)
SK519082
[108]
Map Citation Groby Pool is the largest natural lake in the county, and it is used by many wintering wildfowl. The marginal vegetation is diverse, and there is also wet woodland and meadows which have grasses such as common bent, sweet vernal grass and crested dog's-tail.[109]
Harby Hill Wood Harby Hill Wood Green tickY 17.2 hectares
(43 acres)
[110]
FP Melton Mowbray
52°50′53″N 0°52′08″W / 52.848°N 0.869°W / 52.848; -0.869 (Harby Hill Wood)
SK762285
[110]
Map Citation This site has steeply sloping ash and sycamore woodland, with areas of spring-fed marsh and colonies of wild daffodils. There is also an area of species-rich dry grassland, which has flora such as pignut and musk thistle.[111]
Holly Rock Fields Holly Rock Fields Green tickY 3.9 hectares
(9.6 acres)
[112]
NO Coalville
52°43′30″N 1°19′08″W / 52.725°N 1.319°W / 52.725; -1.319 (Holly Rock Fields)
SK461144
[112]
Map Citation This is a nationally important site as most of it is the nationally scarce National Vegetation Classification type MG5, crested dog’s-tail and common knapweed grassland. The fields have not been subject to agricultural intensification, and they are floristically diverse.[113]
Holwell Mouth Holwell Mouth Green tickY 15.7 hectares
(39 acres)
[114]
YES Melton Mowbray
52°48′47″N 0°55′37″W / 52.813°N 0.927°W / 52.813; -0.927 (Holwell Mouth)
SK724245
[114]
CL[115] Map Citation This marsh on Jurassic clay is in the valley of the River Smite, which runs through the site. There are also areas of grassland, bracken and woodland, and the diverse habitats support a range of birds and insects.[116]
Ives Head Ives Head Green tickY 4.0 hectares
(9.9 acres)
[117]
NO Coalville
52°44′56″N 1°17′35″W / 52.749°N 1.293°W / 52.749; -1.293 (Ives Head)
SK478170
[117]
GCR[118] Map Citation This site exposes volcaniclastic sandstones dating to the late Precambrian, around 600 million years ago. It is important for the global understanding of the early evolution of Ediacaran environments.[119]
Kendall's Meadow Kendall's Meadow hedge Green tickY 2.6 hectares
(6.4 acres)
[120]
NO Hinckley
52°34′41″N 1°25′16″W / 52.578°N 1.421°W / 52.578; -1.421 (Kendall's Meadow)
SP393980
[120]
Map Citation Over a dozen grass species grow on this traditionally managed hay meadow, such as common bent, red fescue, crested dog's tail and yellow oat grass. There are also many herbs including cat's ear and yellow rattle.[121]
Kilby - Foxton Canal Kilby – Foxton Canal Green tickY 32 hectares
(79 acres)
[122]
YES Leicester
52°33′25″N 1°02′20″W / 52.557°N 1.039°W / 52.557; -1.039 (Kilby - Foxton Cana)
SP652959
[122]
Map Citation Nine species of pondweed have been recorded on the canal, two of which are nationally rare, and submerged plants include Nuttall's waterweed and yellow water-lily. Fleckney Tunnel has a long established colony of Daubenton's bats.[123]
King Lud's Entrenchments and The Drift The Drift Green tickY 23.9 hectares
(59 acres)
[124]
YES Melton Mowbray
52°50′31″N 0°43′16″W / 52.842°N 0.721°W / 52.842; -0.721 (King Lud's Entrenchments and The Drift)
SK862280
[124]
SM[125] Map[g] Citation This site has limestone grassland with tor-grass, cock's foot, crested dog's-tail and red fescue. Herbs include salad burnet, field scabious, germander speedwell and perforate St John's-wort, and there is also some broad-leaved semi-natural woodland.[126]
Launde Big Wood Launde Big Wood Green tickY 41.1 hectares
(102 acres)
[127]
YES Leicester
52°37′30″N 0°50′24″W / 52.625°N 0.84°W / 52.625; -0.84 (Launde Big Wood)
SK786037
[127]
LRWT[128] Map Citation This wood on heavy clay is dominated by ash, and in some areas by wych elm. The ground layer has flora typical of ancient clay woods, such as bluebell, forget-me-not, yellow archangel and giant bellflower.[129]
Leighfield Forest Leighfield Forest Green tickY 149.7 hectares
(370 acres)
[130]
PP Leicester
52°36′40″N 0°51′29″W / 52.611°N 0.858°W / 52.611; -0.858 (Leighfield Forest)
SK774021
[130]
NCR[131] Map Citation These woods in the Eye Brook valley date back at least to the thirteenth century. The dominant trees are ash and oak. The diverse moths and beetles include some rare species, and others are at the northern limit of their distribution. There are also areas of grassland and marsh.[132]
Lockington Marshes Lockington Marshes Green tickY 11.3 hectares
(28 acres)
[133]
NO Loughborough
52°51′47″N 1°16′41″W / 52.863°N 1.278°W / 52.863; -1.278 (Lockington Marshes)
SK487298
[133]
Map Citation This site in the floodplains of the River Soar and River Trent has a periodically flooded meadow, pools and one of the largest areas of willow carr in the county. The invertebrate fauna includes nationally rare beetles and flies, and scarce species such as the water beetle batenus livens and the weevil anthribus fasciatus.[134]
Loughborough Meadows Loughborough Meadows Green tickY 60.5 hectares
(149 acres)
[135]
YES Loughborough
52°47′28″N 1°12′22″W / 52.791°N 1.206°W / 52.791; -1.206 (Loughborough Meadows)
SK536218
[135]
LRWT[136] Map Citation This is the largest area of unimproved alluvial flood meadow in the county, and wet areas are dominated by creeping bent and marsh foxtail. A brook has large areas of marsh foxtail, and there is a field with breeding lapwings and redshanks.[137]
Lount Meadows Lount Meadows Green tickY 8.5 hectares
(21 acres)
[138]
NO Coalville
52°46′05″N 1°25′44″W / 52.768°N 1.429°W / 52.768; -1.429 (Lount Meadows)
SK386191
[138]
Map Citation This slightly acidic grassland site has hay meadows with diverse grass species. There are also areas of species-rich rough pasture, scrub and marsh, which is dominated by plicate sweet-grass and water horsetail.[139]
Main Quarry, Mountsorrel Main Quarry, Mountsorrel Green tickY 14.6 hectares
(36 acres)
[140]
NO Leicester
52°43′37″N 1°08′49″W / 52.727°N 1.147°W / 52.727; -1.147 (Main Quarry, Mountsorrel)
SK577148
[140]
GCR[141] Map Citation According to Natural England, this site "is probably the most dramatic and well-developed occurrence of asphaltite in Britain upon which international research into the origin of life on Earth has been carried out."[142]
Misterton Marshes Misterton Marshes Green tickY 6.8 hectares
(17 acres)
[143]
NO Lutterworth
52°27′40″N 1°10′52″W / 52.461°N 1.181°W / 52.461; -1.181 (Misterton Marshes)
SP557852
[143]
Map Citation This is one of the largest areas of unimproved wetland in the county. Its large areas of tall fen are dominated by common reed, reed canary grass and lesser pond-sedge. There is also an area of grazed marsh and a stream.[144]
Muston Meadows Muston Meadows Green tickY 8.7 hectares
(21 acres)
[145]
YES Grantham
52°55′08″N 0°46′30″W / 52.919°N 0.775°W / 52.919; -0.775 (Muston Meadows)
SK824365
[145]
NCR,[146] NNR[56][147] Map Citation These ridge and furrow meadows are on soils derived from clay. Herbs include green-winged orchid, lady's bedstraw, yellow rattle, pepper saxifrage and cowslip.[146]
Narborough Bog Narborough Bog Green tickY 8.5 hectares
(21 acres)
[148]
YES Leicester
52°34′34″N 1°11′28″W / 52.576°N 1.191°W / 52.576; -1.191 (Narborough Bog)
SP549979
[148]
LRWT[149] Map Citation This site has a large area of common reed on peat, and there is also wet woodland, dominated by crack willow. Both areas have diverse species of butterflies and moths, including several which are locally uncommon. In the south of the site there are two wet grazed meadows and more woodland.[149][150]
Newhurst Quarry Newhurst Quarry Green tickY 9.4 hectares
(23 acres)
[151]
NO Shepshed
52°45′22″N 1°16′55″W / 52.756°N 1.282°W / 52.756; -1.282 (Newhurst Quarry)
SK485179
[151]
GCR[152] Map Citation This is the only British site where hypogene mineralisatin, deep in the earth, has been weathered during the Triassic, around 225 million years ago. It is also the only British site to have the minerals coulsonite and vesignieite.[153]
Newton Burgoland Marshes Newton Burgoland Marshes Green tickY 8.6 hectares
(21 acres)
[154]
NO Coalville
52°40′34″N 1°26′13″W / 52.676°N 1.437°W / 52.676; -1.437 (Newton Burgoland Marshes)
SK381089
[154]
Map Citation This site is in two areas, with the northern one having wet grassland and species rich marsh, while the southern one is well-drained grassland. Herbs in the marsh include ragged robin, marsh marigold, meadow thistle and southern marsh orchid.[155]
Oakley Wood Oakley Wood Green tickY 48.1 hectares
(119 acres)
[156]
NO Loughborough
52°47′20″N 1°16′55″W / 52.789°N 1.282°W / 52.789; -1.282 (Oakley Wood)
SK485216
[156]
Map Citation This site provides the only example in the county of the transition from oak woodland on free draining acid soil to the ash and hazel typical of the heavy clays of eastern central England. Rides add to the variety of flora, with woodland species such as lily of the valley and yellow archangel.[157]
One Barrow Plantation One Barrow Plantation Green tickY 1.8 hectares
(4.4 acres)
[158]
NO Shepshed
52°44′56″N 1°18′54″W / 52.749°N 1.315°W / 52.749; -1.315 (One Barrow Plantation)
SK463171
[158]
GCR[159] Map Citation This site exposes rocks dating to the late Precambrian, around 600 million years ago. The deposits are mainly volcanic ash, thought to have been deposited in the sea from volcanoes on neighbouring islands similar to those now found on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean.[160]
Owston Woods Owston Woods Green tickY 139.5 hectares
(345 acres)
[161]
YES Oakham
52°39′00″N 0°50′10″W / 52.65°N 0.836°W / 52.65; -0.836 (Owston Woods)
SK788065
[161]
Map Citation The dominant trees in these woods on Jurassic and glacial clay are ash and hazel. There are diverse moths, beetles and other insects, including some rare species, and there is also a variety of birds and small mammals.[162]
Pasture and Asplin Woods Pasture Wood Green tickY 40.9 hectares
(101 acres)
[163]
NO Shepshed
52°47′20″N 1°22′19″W / 52.789°N 1.372°W / 52.789; -1.372 (Pasture and Asplin Woods)
SK424215
[163]
Map Citation These ancient woods on poorly drained clay soils are dominated by ash, with a shrub layer of hazel and hawthorn. There are herbs characteristic of ancient woodland, such as wood anemone and sweet woodruff.[164]
River Eye River Eye Green tickY 6 hectares
(15 acres)
[165]
PP Melton Mowbray
52°45′32″N 0°51′18″W / 52.759°N 0.855°W / 52.759; -0.855 (River Eye)
SK773186
[165]
NCR[166] Map Citation This unpolluted clay stream has rich and diverse flora and fauna. Marginal vegetation includes bulrush, branched bur-reed and greater pond sedge, while shallow, fast-flowing stretches have curled pondweed and perfoliate pondweed.[166]
River Mease River Mease Green tickY 22.8 hectares
(56 acres)
[167]
PP Coalville
52°42′14″N 1°35′31″W / 52.704°N 1.592°W / 52.704; -1.592 (River Mease)
SK276120
[167]
SAC[168] Map[h] Citation The river has nationally significant populations of two species of freshwater fish, spined loach and bullhead. Vegetation is sparse in the upper reaches as the stream is fast-flowing, but there are stands of floating sweet-grass, and aquatic flora is more varied lower down, where the river flows slowly across a flood plain.[169]
Roecliffe Manor Lawns Roecliffe Manor Lawns Green tickY 1.2 hectares
(3.0 acres)
[170]
NO Leicester
52°42′25″N 1°12′54″W / 52.707°N 1.215°W / 52.707; -1.215 (Roecliffe Manor Lawns)
SK531125
[170]
Map Citation This grassland site on Precambrian rocks has a wide variety of fungi, including several species listed in the provisional Red Data Book of threatened species for fungi. There are many mushrooms of the genus Entoloma.[171]
Saddington Reservoir Saddington Reservoir Green tickY 19 hectares
(47 acres)
[172]
YES Market Harborough
52°30′43″N 1°01′26″W / 52.512°N 1.024°W / 52.512; -1.024 (Saddington Reservoir)
SP663910
[172]
Map Citation The reservoir has a range of wetland habitats, such as open water, wet willow woodland and swamp. There are a number of nationally scarce beetles, such as Carabus monilis, Atheta basicornis, Eledona agricola and Gyrophaena lucidula.[173]
Sheepy Fields Sheepy Fields Green tickY 4.9 hectares
(12 acres)
[174]
NO Market Bosworth
52°37′08″N 1°30′40″W / 52.619°N 1.511°W / 52.619; -1.511 (Sheepy Fields)
SK332025
[174]
Map Citation The two hay meadows in this site are on post-glacial river terrace deposits. There are diverse herbs such as lady's mantle, adder's tongue, hayrattle, pepper saxifrage, bulbous buttercup and cowslip.[175]
Sheet Hedges Wood Sheet Hedges Wood Green tickY 21.7 hectares
(54 acres)
[176]
YES Leicester
52°40′19″N 1°13′08″W / 52.672°N 1.219°W / 52.672; -1.219 (Sheet Hedges Wood)
SK529086
[176]
Map Citation This is typical of ancient woods on clay soils in central and eastern England, and ash is dominant in the canopy, while the shrub layer has hazel, field maple, hawthorn, elder and privet.[177]
Shepshed Cutting Shepshed Cutting Green tickY 5.8 hectares
(14 acres)
[178]
YES Shepshed
52°45′43″N 1°19′08″W / 52.762°N 1.319°W / 52.762; -1.319 (Shepshed Cutting)
SK460185
[178]
Map Citation The Triassic deposits in Shepshed Cutting are unique, with a flat sheet of galena resting on red clay, and the whole enclosed in sandstone. The site is described by Natural England as "of international importance for developing a better understanding of the origins of mineral deposits and the processes which form them".[179]
Sproxton Quarry Sproxton Quarry Green tickY 5.4 hectares
(13 acres)
[180]
YES Melton Mowbray
52°49′01″N 0°43′08″W / 52.817°N 0.719°W / 52.817; -0.719 (Sproxton Quarry)
SK864252
[180]
GCR[181] Map Citation The quarry exposes one of the most complete sections of the Middle Jurassic Lincolnshire Limestone Formation, together with the underlying Grantham and Northampton Sand Formations. It has rare ammonites.[182] Sproxton Quarry is a Reference Section for the Grantham Formation.[183]
Stanford Park Stanford Park Green tickY 20.4 hectares
(50 acres)
[184]
YES Lutterworth
52°24′22″N 1°08′24″W / 52.406°N 1.14°W / 52.406; -1.14 (Stanford Park)
SP586791
[184]
Map Citation The park has avenues of oak trees, together with other large trees in an area of pasature. It has the most diverse lichens in the county on the bark of mature trees and on old stonework, including fifteen species not recorded elsewhere in Leicestershire.[185]
Stonesby Quarry Stonesby Quarry Green tickY 3.2 hectares
(7.9 acres)
[186]
YES Melton Mowbray
52°49′01″N 0°47′46″W / 52.817°N 0.796°W / 52.817; -0.796 (Stonesby Quarry)
SK812251
[186]
LRWT[187] Map Citation This site on Jurassic Lincolnshire Limestone has grassland with diverse herb species, such as autumn gentian, cowslip, dwarf thistle, small scabious, pyramidal orchid and clustered bellflower.[188]
Swithland Wood and The Brand Swithland Wood Green tickY 87.9 hectares
(217 acres)
.[189]
YES Leicester
52°42′22″N 1°12′11″W / 52.706°N 1.203°W / 52.706; -1.203 (Swithland Wood and The Brand)
SK539124
[189]
GCR,[190] NCR[191] Map Citation Swithland Wood is typical of the acid and loamy soils of the Midlands, and its dominant trees are sessile oak, silver birch and small-leaved lime. The Brand is a former slate quarry which has many lichens, including species rare in the region.[192]
Terrace Hills Pasture Terrace Hill Pasture Green tickY 11.2 hectares
(28 acres)
[193]
PP Grantham
52°52′08″N 0°49′16″W / 52.869°N 0.821°W / 52.869; -0.821 (Terrace Hills Pasture)
SK794309
[193]
Map Citation This site has been designated an SSSI as an example of old calcareous pasture, but some areas are former quarries, and as a result there is an undulating terrain. The dominant grasses are crested dog's-tail, sweet vernal grass and red fescue, and there is also a small stream with an area of marsh.[194]
Tilton Cutting Tilton Cutting Green tickY 4.4 hectares
(11 acres)
[195]
YES Leicester
52°38′24″N 0°52′23″W / 52.64°N 0.873°W / 52.64; -0.873 (Tilton Cutting)
SK763053
[195]
GCR,[196] LRWT[197] Map Citation This is the best site in the East Midlands which exposes the sequence of rocks in the Lower Jurassic around 180 million years ago. There are many fossils, including Tiltoniceras acutum, an age-diagnostic ammonite.[198] The site has rich flora and diverse common birds.[197]
Twenty Acre Piece Twenty Acre Piece Green tickY 8 hectares
(20 acres)
[199]
YES Loughborough
52°46′55″N 1°03′04″W / 52.782°N 1.051°W / 52.782; -1.051 (Twenty Acre Piece)
SK641210
[199]
CL[200] Map Citation This site has grassland, scrub and wood on poorly drained acidic clay. The woodland is mainly hawthorn, oak and ash, and there are diverse populations of breeding invertebrates and birds.[201]
Ulverscroft Valley Ulverscroft Valley Green tickY 110.7 hectares
(274 acres)
[202]
PP Leicester
52°42′32″N 1°16′23″W / 52.709°N 1.273°W / 52.709; -1.273 (Ulverscroft Valley)
SK492127
[202]
LRWT,[203][1] NT,[203] SM[204] Map Citation This is described by Natural England as one of the best wildlife sites in the county, with grassland, heath, woodland and wetlands. Over 200 plant species have been recorded, with an especially rich flora in wet areas and diverse species of moths.[205]
Wymondham Rough Wymondham Rough Green tickY 5.9 hectares
(15 acres)
[206]
YES Melton Mowbray
52°44′53″N 0°46′12″W / 52.748°N 0.77°W / 52.748; -0.77 (Wymondham Rough)
SK831175
[206]
LRWT[207] Map Citation This clay grassland has a rich flora, dominated by common bent, Yorkshire fog, false oat-grass and cock's foot. A poorly drained area has plants such as water avens, and there are drier soils in the west of the site.[208]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b The area and grid reference are taken from the "Details" page for each site on the Natural England database.[7]
  2. ^ The maps are provided by Natural England on the Magic Map website.
  3. ^ Citations are provided for each site by Natural England.
  4. ^ Descriptions are mainly based on the official Natural England citations. Many of these date to the 1980s, and in some cases may be out of date.
  5. ^ Dimminsdale is partly in Derbyshire.
  6. ^ Eye Brook Reservoir is partly in Rutland.
  7. ^ King Lud's Entrenchments and The Drift is partly in Lincolnshire.
  8. ^ River Mease is partly in Staffordshire.

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Leicestershire". Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Our Population". Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership. Archived from the original on 18 December 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  4. ^ "About us". Leicester City Council. Archived from the original on 2 June 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Find your local council". Leicestershire County Council. Archived from the original on 24 April 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Sites of Special Scientific Interest: Designation". Natural England. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Leicestershire". Natural England. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Bradgate Park and Cropston Reservoir citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Gipsy Lane Pit citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Allexton Wood". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Allexton Wood citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Ashby Canal". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
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  14. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Bardon Hill". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
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  39. ^ "Breedon Cloud Wood and Quarry citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  40. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Breedon Hill". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived from the original on 18 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  41. ^ "Breedon Hill citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  42. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Briery Wood Heronry, Belvoir". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  43. ^ "Briery Wood Heronry, Belvoir citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  44. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Buddon Wood and Swithland Reservoir". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  45. ^ "Buddon Hill (Caledonian igneous)". Geological Conservation Review. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  46. ^ "Buddon Wood and Swithland Reservoir citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  47. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Burbage Wood and Aston Firs". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived from the original on 23 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  48. ^ "Burbage Common and Woods". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. 23 August 2013. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  49. ^ "Burbage Wood and Aston Firs citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
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  54. ^ "Charnwood Lodge & Warren Hills (Precambrian of England & Wales)". Geological Conservation Review. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
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  77. ^ a b "Croft Pasture". Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
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  81. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Debdale Meadow, Muston". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  82. ^ "Debdale Meadow, Muston citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  83. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Dimminsdale". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  84. ^ "Earl Ferrers` Lead Mine (Mineralogy of Peak District, Leicestershire, Cheshire & Shropshire)". Geological Conservation Review. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  85. ^ "Dimminsdale". Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  86. ^ "Dimminsdale citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  87. ^ a b "Designated Sites View: Donington Park". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived from the original on 12 November 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
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Sources[edit]

  • Ratcliffe, Derek, ed. (1977). A Nature Conservation Review. 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-21403-3.

Coordinates: 52°43′N 1°11′W / 52.717°N 1.183°W / 52.717; -1.183