Bloody Oaks Quarry is one of the best places in Leicestershire and Rutland to enjoy a spot of wildflower hunting or butterfly watching. Most of this tiny reserve is species-rich limestone grassland, which is rare in the two counties, making it a real gem for Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

Location

Grantham Lane, Empingham, Rutland
PE9 4AG

OS Map Reference

SK 970108 (Sheet 130)
A static map of Bloody Oaks Quarry

Know before you go

Size
1 hectare

Entry fee

Free

Parking information

Cars should be parked on the wide roadside verge opposite the reserve entrance. Please do not park across the gateway.

Grazing animals

Livestock may be present

Access

This diverse quarry is located just south of the A1 in Rutland. From the A606, turn into Empingham Village and take Grantham Lane for about 3km heading north-east towards the A1. The reserve is on your righthand side, east of the road, at the northern edge of a woodland.

Dogs

On a lead
On a lead when livestock present. Under close control at all other times

When to visit

Opening times

Always open

Best time to visit

Summer

About the reserve

Bloody Oaks Quarry, or Roundstone Hill as it is sometimes called, is one of the best places in Leicestershire and Rutland to enjoy a spot of wildflower hunting or butterfly watching. Most of this tiny reserve is species-rich limestone grassland, which is rare in the two counties, making it a real gem for Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

The quarry is probably the most northerly location in Britain for chalk milkwort. Over 120 species of flowering plants have been recorded here – an incredible achievement for such a small, but precious, reserve. These included horseshoe vetch, yellow-wort, autumn gentian, common thyme and both pyramidal and bee orchids. Fallow deer and common lizard are regularly seen.  Butterflies recorded include grizzled skipper and recently marbled white has colonised the nature reserve.

Bloody Oaks Quarry is mentioned in J. E. Lousley’s ‘Wild Flowers of Chalk and Limestone’ New Naturalist book (1950) as an old working of great interest. It is formed by a long-disused shallow pit dug into the Upper Lincolnshire limestone, and was first mentioned as a quarry in 1883 by Ordnance Survey. We manage the reserve primarily for its flora (and associated wildlife) by controlling the scrub and using grazing in autumn to keep the grasslands open. You can support our work in this precious spot by becoming a volunteer with LRWT or by joining us a member.

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Location map