BRADGATE PARK is a historic former Medieval Deer Park created from Charnwood Forest and was first enclosed as a hunting park around 800 years ago. For many centuries, it formed part of the Leicestershire Estates of the Grey family and the Earls of Stamford. Even now, though only six miles from the centre of Leicester, certain areas look much as they must have done in the Middle Ages.
Today this unique area extends to some 830 acres and is a location rich in history and natural history. It combines extensive sweeps of parkland, within a spectacular landscape of huge areas of grass, bracken covered slopes, rock outcrops (which include some of the oldest rocks in England), areas of marsh, veteran trees and small woodlands, nationally famous herds of red & fallow deer and the incised valley of the River Lin – which today outfalls into the adjoining Cropston Reservoir.
Other notable features of the Park include the Ruins of Bradgate House – a Tudor mansion (built in the early 16th century) and which was the birthplace and early home of Lady Jane Grey (9 days Queen of England in 1553) Old John Tower (a folly built around 1784 and standing nearly 700 feet above sea level).
SWITHLAND WOOD is a beautiful area of ancient oak woodland. It covers 146 acres and is a remnant of the original Charnwood Forest Oak Woods. Rich in a wide range of flora and fauna, Swithland Wood can be explored using the extensive network of footpaths, designated horse tracks and bridleways. Within the Wood nestle reminders of the famous former Swithland slate quarries.
For further background information about Bradgate Park and Swithland Wood see the Historical section