Leicestershire and Rutland contain a rich and fascinating diversity of wildlife.
Explore the links opposite and information on this page to find out more.
Leicestershire and Rutland are two lowland, mainly agricultural counties with a landscape that is largely of recent origin.
Despite woodland only covering about 4% of the land, there are some exceptionally fine ancient woodlands in the two counties. Species-rich grasslands have declined alarmingly and few now remain.
Other good wildlife habitats include remnant heathland, which is almost restricted to Charnwood Forest, rivers and their floodplains, disused quarries and man-made reservoirs such as Rutland Water.
There are 92 legally protected Sites of Special Scientific Interest, covering about 2% of the counties (compared to a national average of about 6%) and over 1,000 Local Wildlife Sites that have no legal protection.
Wildlife has come under increasing pressure over the last 50 years and the losses of both species and habitats have been greater in the East Midlands than in any other region in the UK.
In Leicestershire and Rutland the two main causes of this serious decline in wildlife are changes in agriculture and building development. As a result many of the most important places for wildlife are now small and isolated from one another, making them particularly vulnerable to whatever unpredictable conditions arise in the future.
Urgent action is needed in Leicestershire and Rutland to protect and enhance our precious wildlife and wild places.
This cruise will begin at Whitwell Harbour where the Rutland Belle sets sail for an hour and a half cruise on Rutland Water.