A network of scrapes and wet meadows, Wanlip is the ideal place to try your hand at birdwatching. The wetland supports a number of birds throughout the year, but the winter and spring are our favourite times to visit – wrap up warm for winter for wildfowl, and explore in summer for wading birds, which adore the muddy edges to the scrapes.

Location

Church Road, Wanlip, Leicester
LE7 4PJ

OS Map Reference

SK 601106 (Sheet 246)
A static map of Wanlip Meadows

Know before you go

Size
16 hectares

Entry fee

Free

Parking information

Cars can be parked at the bottom of the lane

Grazing animals

Livestock may be present

Walking trails

The reserve can be entered on foot from the adjacent Watermead Country Park

Access

The reserve is situated to the south of Wanlip village, alongside the River Soar, between Leicester and Loughborough. From Rectory Road, Wanlip, turn into Church Road and then right at the 'T' junction.

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Always open

Best time to visit

Winter

About the reserve

Wanlip meadows is part of the floodplain for the River Soar, adjacent to Watermead Country Park. Just a few miles from the city centre, this is a wild haven teeming with birdlife, as well as reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. In the winter months, pop on a warm jacket, fill up a flask of something hot, wrap up warm and admire big flocks of wildfowl, including the tiny teal and gaggles of geese. Large flocks of lapwing are present in the winter, too, along with snipe. These species are making the most of the floodwaters that flow from the Soar, which recedes in the spring.

If a winter wander isn’t your thing, July and August are excellent for passage waders, like green sandpiper and redshank, which are migrating at this time. Some will stay throughout the winter, whilst some of our rarer visitors, like Temminck’s stint and wood sandpiper, will turn up (hopefully!) at the end of the summer. Grey herons stalk the edges of the reserve all year round, and in the spring, you can spot reed buntings and reed warblers flitting along the river’s edge. Grass-snakes, toads and frogs have all been seen, along with a growing list of dragonflies and butterflies. Many wetland plants have already colonised the large scrape. Amongst the more notable are grey club-rush, needle spike-rush and blue water-speedwell.