Know before you go
Parking informationPark on the minor road near the Heathcote Arms in Croft (LE9 3EG)
Grazing animalsLivestock may be present
The reserve lies on both banks of the River Soar on the northern edge of Croft Village, between Narborough and Stoney Stanton. Walk up Station Road from the Heathcote Arms to the entrance track, which is on the right (west of the road). There is permissive access across the reserve, from a kissing gate at main entrance off Station Road to a stile at entrance in north west corner. The nature reserve is on a slope with steep sections.
When to visit
Opening timesAlways open
Best time to visitSummer
About the reserve
This special nature reserve is very close to our wild hearts, as it was discovered by the late Stephen Bishop: once Honorable Scientific Officer to the Trust. A botanist’s dream, the grassland flora of the reserve is outstanding. Birds-foot grows at the top of the cliff, 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 is home to many uncommon species, including upright chickweed, meadow saxifrage, common stork's-bill and subterranean clover. It is also known as the Stephen Bishop Memorial Reserve.
The reserve 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. But don’t worry – you don’t have to be a budding botanist or geologist to appreciate the wild diversity of this nature reserve. Enjoy the flow of the river through the reserve and, in the summer, enjoy the buzz of insects as they make the most of those diverse and special flowers.