Explore England’s Newest National Nature Reserve in Leicestershire

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 21, 2024 07:30 AMNews
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Leicestershire field under cloudy skies
Bradgate Park's historical landscapes offer rich exploration. Source: unsplash

Bradgate Park and Swithland Wood in Leicestershire have been designated as a new National Nature Reserve, offering travelers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical significance. This 439-hectare reserve will not only protect some of the world's rarest fossils but also provide a sanctuary for various species, including kingfishers and the rare ‘Charnwood spider’.

Located in the heart of Leicestershire, Bradgate Park is renowned for its Precambrian fossils, which date back over half a billion years. These fossils, known as the Ediacaran biota, are among the earliest evidence of complex life on Earth, making the park a must-visit for geology enthusiasts.

In addition to its geological wonders, the park holds historical charm as the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey. Visitors can explore the medieval parkland, dotted with ancient oak trees and home to fallow and red deer. The combination of rich history and natural beauty makes Bradgate Park a captivating destination.

The new National Nature Reserve was announced by Natural England on May 20, coinciding with the start of National Nature Reserves Week. This newest reserve, the 220th in England, adds to the country's impressive network of protected areas, covering over 109,000 hectares.

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, highlighted the reserve’s importance for both nature recovery and public enjoyment, emphasizing its accessibility for residents of nearby Leicester. James Dymond, Director of Bradgate Park Trust, celebrated the recognition of the site’s conservation value and the efforts of the dedicated teams who made this achievement possible.

For those looking to connect with nature, Bradgate Park offers a variety of trails and outdoor activities. The park’s diverse habitats, including grasslands and heath, support a wide range of wildlife, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and bird watchers.

Sir David Attenborough, who has fond memories of visiting Bradgate Park as a child, supported fundraising efforts for a new visitor center, enhancing the park's amenities for guests. His involvement underscores the park’s significance as both a natural and cultural treasure.

Bradgate Park is not only a destination for its scenic landscapes but also a key site for scientific research in Precambrian Palaeontology. The park is poised to play a significant role in the future plans for a UNESCO Global Geopark in Charnwood Forest, further cementing its status as a site of global importance.

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