One of the best sites in Leicestershire for many types of flora and fauna.
Bradgate is renowned for its fine herds of deer. The Fallow Deer were probably first introduced when the deer park was established in the 13th century and the Red Deer could possibly be descendents of the original wild population.
A rich and varied bird population including many summer migrants.
The Park is also noted for its Badger population and is rich in reptiles – Adder, Grass Snake, Common Lizard and Slow Worm.
Interesting communities of flora associated with fast flowing River Lin and network of streams and ditches across Park. Notable fauna including brown trout, white-clawed Crayfish and other species associated with River.
Numerous ancient parkland trees (principally oak and some sweet chestnut) which provide a refuge for some of the Midland's rarest invertebrates including numerous species of beetle and also spider. A number of the veteran oaks are probably over 800 years old and some were certainly growing at the time of Lady Jane Grey.
Wide range of notable flora, typical of the Charnwood Forest habitat.
One of the richest sites for lichen species in the Midlands.
The geology of Charnwood Forest has had a great influence on the flora and fauna of Bradgate. The rock outcrops in the Park are exposures of the late Precambrian period. They were deposited as volcanic ash and other debris on the flanks of islands similar to those of the modern day Caribbean. Other molten igneous rocks subsequently intruded into the rock sequence at a later date. All these rocks rank as some of the oldest in the country. Some are over 560 million years old and are of international renown. More recent Mercia Mudstones (Keuper Marl) form the geology of the lower lying areas to the east of the Park.
The Country Park’s wide range of Guided Walks (click here to find out more) are an ideal way to find out more about the Country Park’s rich and varied Natural History.
A Veteran Bradgate Oak
One of the best remaining examples of the original pedunculate oakwoods of Charnwood. There is strong evidence that some of the land within the Wood has never been completely cleared of some form of tree cover throughout its history.
This exceptionally rich and attractive woodland has many mature trees, mainly Pedunculate and Sessile oak which are at a most valuable stage in their life cycle, having a great capacity to support wildlife. Fine native small leaved lime – a rare tree in the East Midlands – in the north-west part of the Wood. Significant fairly open shrub layer throughout the wood including much hazel and holly.
Alderwood and Carr associated with the damp situations besides the stream. Also various areas of Ash.
Flora is typical of such woodland and is accordingly very diverse. Over 250 species of flowering plant and fern have been recorded.
Small herb rich meadow in the northern part of the Wood. This may have been cleared very early in the woodland’s history, perhaps as a deer lawn and then subsequently used, in the 18th & 19th centuries as grazing for the horses engaged in slate extraction from the Quarries.
Rich in butterflies and moths, with a wide range of bird species including all three woodpecker and a number of species of warblers.
There are more than 400 different varieties of trees and plants recorded.
Very wide and varied range of fauna
Swithland Wood has outcrops of late Precambrian rocks that are much younger than those in Bradgate. These include blue/grey and green slate (quarried in earlier centuries to produce the famous Swithland Slate).
For more information - see History of Swithland Wood section.
Bluebell Service. An annual "church service" held in Swithland Wood in Spring to celebrate the spectacular spring displays of Bluebells which carpet parts of the Wood. The Service is held just to the north of the former quarry in the centre of the wood.
The 2013 service will be held on Sunday 28th April at 3pm. All welcome.