Location and access
OS map ref: SK590140 (Sheet 246 - Explorer)
The reserve lies on the floodplain of the River Soar between Leicester and Loughborough. Access is from Rowe Leyes Furlong on the edge of Mountsorrel village (although the road is technically part of Rothley Parish). From Leicester follow the A6 towards Loughborough and take the exit to Mountsorrel. From the roundabout take the second exit into the village and Rowe Leyes Furlong it the first turning on the right. This is a residential road so please park considerately and do not obstruct driveways. The reserve can be accessed from a footpath on the right hand side that leads from this road, under the A6, and comes out at the main entrance.
There are several public footpaths leading onto the reserve including one from Sileby Mill (although there is very limited parking at the Mill).
For the more energetic a visit to Cossington Meadows nature reserve can be combined with a walk around Mountsorrel Meadows. The public footpath alongside the river at Cossington Meadows continues north through Barber’s Rough towards Sileby Mill. At the Mill the public footpath to Mountsorrel takes you to the southern end of Mountsorrel Meadows.
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.
Public transport - contact Traveline for further information www.traveline.org.uk or phone 0871 200 22 33.
Dogs are permitted on this nature reserve but on short leads only.
This 12.6 hectare nature reserve, contains a mosaic of valuable wetland habitats including wet woodland, shallow pools, wet grassland and marsh. It was purchased by the Trust in 2006 and the main habitat creation work was completed in the autumn of 2007
History, habitats & management
Floodplains are hugely valuable places providing unique wildlife habitats and soaking up otherwise damaging floodwaters. The reserve is part of a larger area of sensitively managed floodplain within the Soar Valley including the nearby Trust reserves of Cossington Meadows and Wanlip Meadows.
The reserve had previously been leased to a local farmer who harvested the last crop of maize from the site in 2004. In their recent history both meadows were permanent grassland and grazed by cattle in common with most of the surrounding fields.
Reserve management will be kept to a minimum allowing nature to do the work and, in time, the reserve will develop and provide increasingly attractive habitats for wildlife.
Floodwaters will bring in seeds and create shallow pools for birds to feed in, while grazing cattle will prevent trees and other tall plants taking over. The newly planted woodland will be allowed to develop into naturalistic looking woodland.
Features of interest
The reserve lacked diversity when it was purchased as it had been managed for agricultural purposes. The site is now managed for wildlife so the number of plant species and the value to wildlife should increase greatly. Typical species expected to arrive naturally are purple loosestrife, ragged-robin, cuckooflower and many species of rush and sedge.
Areas of wet woodland have been created through a mix of planting and natural regeneration. The main woodland area was planted with alder trees and willow sticks (sections of cut willow stems which when pushed into the ground develop roots and grow). Smaller areas of woodland have developed entirely on their own from seeds which have blown in or washed in by floodwaters.
The wet grassland and shallow wet scrapes have been designed to encourage overwintering birds such as lapwing, snipe and redshank. All year round visitors are likely to include grey heron, mallard and skylark. As the wet woodland grows it may encourage willow tit, lesser spotted woodpecker and various warblers to visit and hopefully breed.
NB: Please use the viewing platform to observe the wildlife in the meadows and scrapes. This has been designed to enable people to view the reserve without causing disturbance to the wildlife. Visitors are asked not to enter the main meadow area.
Live near here? Want to help out?
Why not join one of our teams of volunteers. We have regular work parties covering reserves in this area including Mountsorrel Meadows. For more information contact us.