Know before you go
Entry feeFree, but permit required
Grazing animalsLivestock may be present
There are several marked paths around the reserve and all visitors are requested to keep to these. Please contact us for an information sheet.
This remarkable reserve lies 3km east of Whitwick and 3km north of Copt Oak, to the west of the M1. Members and permit holders can enter from Abbey Road (nearest postcode is LE67 4UA), this track is used by farm machinery, for your safety please only access the parking area by vehicle and not on foot. The reserve is on the east side of the road, half a kilometre from the Forest Rock junction. Other visitors can access the reserve from the Warren Hills Road (nearest postcode is LE67 4UX) where there is limited parking in the layby.
When to visit
Opening timesAlways open, but please note restrictions
Best time to visitSpring
About the reserve
Charnwood Lodge is one of the last truly wild areas in Charnwood Forest. Birds, bats, wildflowers, woodland butterflies, native trees, mosses and lichen all benefit from traditional, minimal management. It’s worth returning at different times of year so that you can experience that changing seasons fully and enjoy the species that the nature reserve attracts. As well as the forest, the area enjoys a reservoir, streams, ponds and fields. This is the perfect reserve for both ardent naturalists and those just wanting to get away from the city for a relaxing walk.
Buzzard, kestrel and sparrowhawk are now quite common, and there have been several sightings in recent years of hobby. In the spring and summer, listen out for tree pipits and migrant warblers. All three species of woodpecker occur, although the lesser spotted is rare.
In the summer at dusk, keep an eye out for bats. Ten species of bat have been recorded on the reserve and both species of pipistrelle and the rare Natterer's breed here. Holly blue and green hair-streak butterflies can be seen, usually in May, and the reserve is excellent for spotting moorland moths, like the neglected rustic and glaucous shears.
The large tracts of heath grassland are dotted with bilberry, while marshes and boggy pools host wildflowers, such as marsh violet, lesser skullcap, creeping willow and climbing corydalis. Several locally rare ferns grow here, including lemon-scented and hard-fern, and there are rare species of sedge. The reserve is currently the only known site in the counties for several species of mosses and liverworts.