A recent survey of Aylestone Meadows by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and local naturalists has recorded over six hundred species of flora and fauna, including 336 different plant species. Several rare and notable species were discovered, such as slender spike rush, which has not been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland since 1800, and the rapidly declining tubular water-dropwort. A large number of species that are indicators of good quality grasslands, such as meadow saxifrage, lady’s bedstraw and common meadow-rue were also found.
Senior Conservation Officer, Neill Talbot, from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust said,
“This survey follows the welcome decision by Leicester City Councillors in March 2011 to reject plans to put football pitches on part of Aylestone Meadows Local Nature Reserve. The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust is now working with the Council and local people to protect and enhance the reserve. The first stage of this work was an extensive survey of most of the reserve last summer, mainly looking at habitats and plants, though limited studies of fauna were also undertaken. A summary report of the survey results has just been published and it confirms that Aylestone Meadows is the best wildlife site in Leicester. The findings of the report will help to inform future management of the nature reserve and adjacent areas.“
Click here to download a copy of the Aylestone Meadows survey report.
This year the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust will complete a survey of the Soar Valley and look at the remaining areas of Aylestone Meadows and land adjacent to it – the buffer areas to the nature reserve – and the southern part of Watermead Country Park. More detailed surveys of fauna will also be carried out by local naturalists and it is hoped that a “Bioblitz” event can be held in 2013 to involve local people in recording wildlife on selected parts of Aylestone Meadows.
The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust will continue working closely with Leicester City Council to ensure the long term protection of Aylestone Meadows. However, the Trust believes that Aylestone Meadows should not be managed in isolation, and additional resources from Leicester City Council and neighbouring local authorities are required to achieve a fully connected landscape along the Soar Valley.
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