Ownership of this reserves is split between the Wildlife Trust and the National Trust, however the Wildlife Trust has managed both areas since 1966. A real gem in the heart of Charnwood Forest, this reserve offers a wide variety of habitats to explore. Whether you’re a birdwatcher, a botanist or just looking for a nature reserve to really explore, Ulverscroft is the perfect place to get away from it all for a few hours.

Location

Whitcroft's Lane, Markfield
LE67 9QE

OS Map Reference

SK 489124 (Sheet 129)
A static map of Ulverscroft

Know before you go

Size
59 hectares

Entry fee

Free, but permit required (for National Trust land)

Parking information

Limited parking is available along Whitcroft's Lane adjacent to the reserve.

Grazing animals

Livestock may be present

Access

The reserve is half a kilometre east of Copt Oak in Charnwood Forest. Access is from Whitcroft's Lane, which leaves the B591 Copt Oak to Loughborough road 300m north of Copt Oak.

A public footpath connects Poultney Wood to the Marshes; please do not stray from this when outside the reserve. This reserve contains stiles.

Part of the reserve has restricted access for members of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust (who can use their membership cards as permits) and National Trust members by permit only.

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Always open

Best time to visit

Spring

About the reserve

The Ulverscroft reserve covers the whole range of habitats from hilltop (250 m) to valley bottom, and everything in between. Woodlands, heathland, grassland, meadow, wet woodland, ponds and marshes make this a truly diverse place to enjoy a stroll.

The mature planted oak and beech woods are rich in bird life with treecreeper, nuthatch, green and great spotted woodpeckers and tits and even breeding sparrowhawks. There are patches of wood-sorrel, wood anemone and greater stitchwort in the ground layer, and wide variety of fungi appear in autumn. There is a spectacular display of bluebells each May in Poultney Wood. Greater stitchwort, wood-sorrel, yellow pimpernel and yellow archangel grow along the edges of the rides. At the western end of Fox Covert, small areas of sphagnum bog occur.

The 'heathland' is dominated by bracken, although extensive patches of bilberry remain around the rocky hilltops, which are great for bees. Patches of heather are developing along the paths. Tree pipits use the isolated trees as song posts and woodcock used to be seen roding at dusk here in the late spring. The area is great for insects like butterflies, such as the large and small skippers, common blue, small copper and meadow brown. The valley marshes are rich in marsh plants and the stream's sides are clothed in opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage and marsh-marigold.

Flowering plants in Herbert's meadows include fragrant orchid, quaking grass, devil's-bit scabious, bitter-vetch, meadow vetchling, heath spotted-orchid and tormentil. Parts of the meadow are very wet with sedge communities, great bird's-foot-trefoil and marsh thistle in profusion.

The southern part of the reserve was left to the National Trust by the late Charles Cliffe Jones.

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)