Wildlife in Leicestershire & Rutland

Leicestershire and Rutland contain a rich and fascinating diversity of wildlife. 

Explore the links opposite and information on this page to find out more.

Wildflowers at Herbert's Meadow, Ulverscroft nature reserve

Leicestershire and Rutland are two lowland, mainly agricultural counties with a landscape that is largely of recent origin.

Despite woodland only covering about 4% of the land, there are some exceptionally fine ancient woodlands in the two counties. Species-rich grasslands have declined alarmingly and few now remain.

Other good wildlife habitats include remnant heathland, which is almost restricted to Charnwood Forest, rivers and their floodplains, disused quarries and man-made reservoirs such as Rutland Water.

There are 92 legally protected Sites of Special Scientific Interest, covering about 2% of the counties (compared to a national average of about 6%) and over 1,000 Local Wildlife Sites that have no legal protection.

Wildlife has come under increasing pressure over the last 50 years and the losses of both species and habitats have been greater in the East Midlands than in any other region in the UK.

Marbled white butterly

In Leicestershire and Rutland the two main causes of this serious decline in wildlife are changes in agriculture and building development. As a result many of the most important places for wildlife are now small and isolated from one another, making them particularly vulnerable to whatever unpredictable conditions arise in the future.

Urgent action is needed in Leicestershire and Rutland to protect and enhance our precious wildlife and wild places.

Coming up...

  • Afternoon Osprey Cruise
    Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre, Egleton LE15 8BT
    Wednesday 5th August

    Enjoy a cruise on the Rutland Belle - the perfect way to see the Ospreys at Rutland Water.

    More details

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