History

Tree Species in Swithland Wood

Swithland Wood (situated directly across the road on the northern side of Bradgate Park)  was one of the first disposals of the Bradgate Estate by the Grey family in 1921.  It was purchased by a local timber merchant who felled much of the timber.  To prevent the removal of further timber, and to conserve the Wood as one of the most wildlife rich and attractive woodlands in Leicestershire, The Rotary Club of Leicester launched an appeal for its purchase to ensure public access into the future. 

This appeal was a success and the Club purchased Swithland Wood in 1925 and managed it themselves for a few years.

Following the success of the Trust's work to promote public access at Bradgate Park, the Rotary Club of Leicester offered the Wood to the Trust, provided it remained available for public use for ever. The transfer of ownership was completed in 1931. This generous gift is commemorated in an inscription on the rock face of the former slate quarry in the centre of the Wood and on a plaque on the nearby surfaced track through the Wood.

The famous Swithland Slate - characteristic of many buildings in the area - was quarried from the two quarries in the Wood, which have since flooded. Access to the quarries is prohibited. 

Swithaland Wood disused Slate Quarry


Visiting Swithland Wood

There is an honesty box system for car parking at the two car parks. A Bradgate Park Season Ticket covers both Swithland Wood car parks. In addition the Trust offers an annual Car Park Season Ticket for just Swithland Wood car parks. 

There are numerous routes through the Woods offering different terrains. Families, dog-walkers, cyclists and horse-riders are all welcome on the appropriate routes ,which are well signed and waymarked. 

Please note the nearest public toilets are at Bradgate Park Hallgates car park. The Wood is covered by the Bradgate Park Estate byelaws detailed on this website. 


The Natural Heritage

Swithland Wood Tree tops

Swithland Wood covers an area of 170 acres and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and acknowledged as one of the best remnants of native woodland in Leicestershire. Swithland Wood has something to see throughout the seasons. 

The Wood contains many tree species, principally of mature oak, birch, alder and lime, which support a rich variety of butterflies, moths and birds.  The Trust manage the Wood to maximise the benefits to wildlife. This has included re-introducing traditional coppice management, which encourages carpets of wildflowers in spring, including traditional native bluebells. The local parish church organise an annual outdoor Bluebell Church Service each May within the Wood.

Natural Meadow with Spring Blue Bells

Adjoining the Wood is one of the finest remaining traditional wildflower meadows in Leicestershire. This is managed as a traditional hay meadow and the hay is used to feed the deer in Bradgate Park.