Charnwood Lodge National Nature Reserve



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The 600-million-year-old, pastel Precambrian rock outcrops of the Charnwood Lodge NNR are among the oldest in England, and include the famous ‘bomb’ porphyroid rocks, buried in the younger rocks. Large areas of heath grassland are dotted with small areas of bilberry, while marshes and boggy pools harbour a wide variety of species such as bog pimpernel, marsh violet, lesser skullcap, creeping willow and climbing corydalis. Holly blue and green hair-streak butterflies can be seen on Timberwood Hill, usually in May, and a variety of moorland moths are known to occur, including the fox moth, neglected rustic and glaucous shears. The southern side of the reservoir is dominated by alders beneath which there is a rich bog community. Groups of wigeon, teal, pochard and tufted duck are present in the autumn and winter and the bordering fields are the haunt of curlew and wheatear in the spring. Buzzard, kestrel and sparrowhawk are commonly seen. Charnwood is also important for bats; both species of pipistrelle and the rare natterer’s breed here, and brown long-eared and noctule are also recorded.

Charnwood Lodge National Nature Reserve


About the area

Discover Leicestershire

Leicestershire is divided between the large country estates of its eastern side and the industrial towns of the East Midlands to its west. Coal mining was an important part of the county’s industrial development in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is reflected in its heritage, including a reclaimed mine near Coalville, now divided between a nature reserve and Snibston Discovery Park, where families can learn about the mining industry. Meanwhile, agricultural areas are concentrated around the pleasant market towns of Market Harborough and Market Bosworth.

The county’s administrative centre is the city of Leicester, and other major towns are Loughborough, which includes bell-founding among its many industries, and Melton Mowbray, home of Stilton cheese and a particularly English item, the pork pie. One shop in Leicester has been specialising in this meaty delicacy since 1851. Northeast of Melton Mowbray is the lovely Vale of Belvoir, beneath which are large deposits of coal.

Charnwood Forest, with fewer trees than one would expect, provides a wild and rugged landscape conveniently situated for escape from the city. It lies to the northwest of Leicester extending to Loughborough and Coalville, with some interruptions.

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