OS map ref: SP 511957 (Sheet 140)
Nearest post code LE9 3EL
The reserve lies on both banks of the River Soar on the northern edge of Croft Village, about 12 km southwest of Leicester. Park on the minor road near the Heathcote Arms (SP 511960). Walk up Station Road to the entrance track, which is on the right.
N. B. The site is liable to flooding after heavy rain.
This reserve is easily accessible by public transport to Croft village, contact Traveline for further information www.traveline.info or phone 0871 200 22 33.
Permissive access across the reserve. Kissing gate at main entrance off Station Road; stile at entrance in north west corner. The nature reserve is on a slope with steep sections.
We encourage visitors to use environmentally friendly forms of transport wherever possible. Most of our reserves are easily accessible by bicycle, with many close to the National Cycle Network. Please note that cycling is not permitted on the nature reserve itself.
Dogs are permitted on this nature reserve but must be kept on a short lead only. Livestock present May - October.
The reserve is owned by the Trust, and covers 5.8 ha. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The site was discovered by the late Stephen Bishop when he was Hon. Scientific Officer to the Trust.
The area was glebe land, and is mainly unimproved grazing, with the exception of the south eastern corner, which has been top dressed at some time in the past. The River Soar runs northwards and eastwards across the reserve, and was excluded from the 'improvement' when much of the upper Soar was deepened and canalised in the early 1970s.
Habitats include running water, river bank, and neutral and siliceous (sandy) grassland.
The main form of management is by grazing with livestock, supplemented by slashing back of nettles, thistles, etc, in some years.
The major interest lies in the grassland flora. Birds-foot grows at the top of the cliff at the eastern side of the reserve, near Station Road, while wild clary can be seen below the boundary wall in the north eastern corner. A small rocky knoll in the field north of the river supports many uncommon species, including upright chickweed, meadow saxifrage, common stork's-bill and subterranean clover.
The reserve is one of the few natural exposures of the Croft South Leicestershire Diorite of Ordovician age and boasts some important geological features including a gorge, natural crags, water gap, ‘knickpoint’ near the bridge and a ‘roche moutonee’ (the Knoll) indicating ice movement from the north west during the Anglian glaciation. Also known as the Stephen Bishop Memorial Reserve.