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Watermead Country Park (North)

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Sitting just five miles north of Leicester, Watermead Country Park is a 140 hectare green oasis. It is a haven for wildlife and a peaceful stretch of countryside.
Lake and bulrushesThe country park is nearly two miles long and comprises over 12 lakes and smaller ponds, wildflower meadows, woodland, grassland and reedbeds. It is an ideal spot for walking, cycling, picnics, bird watching, and fishing.
Running through the park are the River Soar and Grand Union Canal which provide an essential corridor for wildlife.

Watermead is managed in a partnership of Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council and Charnwood Borough Council.
Watermead Country Park (South) is managed by Leicester City Council and forms part of the Riverside Park which runs through the centre of Leicester.

Africa Day.

Sunday 5th October, 10 - 3pm.
Supporting the Park Rangers widows and orphans project.
See poster for more details.

Blue Green Algae advice to visitors

Blooms of blue-green agae have been seen in King Lear's lake. Toxins produced by the algae may be harmful to people and dogs. Our continued advice to all visitors is to avoid contact with the water and keep their dogs on dry ground at all times. Thank you for your cooperation.

Downloadable children's activity sheets

A brand new set of children’s activity sheets have been produced for families to complete during visits to Watermead Country Park. The sheets have been designed for children of all ages and abilities, and to complement your own interests and learning goals. View and download any or all of the seven sheets to bring with you on your next family visit from our childrens activity sheets page.

Download the new Watermead Country Park Guide

Watermead GuideOur brand new Guide to the country park is now available to download. Now you can plan your visit before you get here!
Download the new Guide here [pdf 2mb].

Swimming and bathing in our lakes

Entering the water can be dangerous for a number of reasons. Please do not swim or bathe, or allow your dogs to enter the lakes at any time.

Visitor Information

  • The car park uses an automated pay on entry access system.
  • Car parking charge is £2.50 per car. The machine only accept coins (not 5 pence pieces), but does not give change or issues tickets.
  • North Entrance Car Park, Wanlip Road, LE7 1PD (Grid Ref: SK 60721 11408)
  • From this entrance four parking areas can be accessed: John Merrick's Lake, King Lear's Lake, Lily Pond and the Reedbed Nature Reserve
  • South Entrance Car Park, Alderton Close, Thurmaston (Leicester City Council end)
  • Car Park Season Ticket Information
  • Bus Route: Arriva 6 (walking involved). Contact Traveline for further information
Location Map    Map of the Country Park    Permanent Orienteering Course
parking chargeparking (disabled)toiletsdisabled access toiletOpen dawn to duskwalkscyclingwheelchair accessInformation area on sitepicnic areaconservation volunteer programmeFishing on site

Opening Times

The car park has an automatic exit gate that will allow cars to leave the car park at any time. Please note we do not allow overnight parking.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May-Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
7am - 4pm 7am - 5pm 7am - 6pm 7am - 7pm 7am - 8pm 7am - 7pm 7am - 6pm (BST) 5pm 7am - 5pm 7am - 4pm

What to See and Do

Portrait Bench
  • More than 12 lakes and ponds
  • Fishing, which is permitted on John Merricks Lake, Lily Pond, King Lears Lake, and sections of the River Soar. See our Fisheries Page for more information
  • Active water sports available for club members. See Activities in the Park for more details
  • Four bird hides, including a 2-storey hide, and one of the largest reedbed areas in the Midlands
  • The Jurassic Play Trail which features an earthmound, a rib-cage climbing frame, a henge-feature and stepping stones, is great for children of all ages to explore
  • The Portrait Bench, part of a national art initiative, which depicts two Bronze Age people and an Aurochs
  • The National Cycle Network passes through the park. The Sustrans Connect2 Project has recently improved much of this network

Conservation Volunteering

The Country Park Service has a number of different volunteer groups that work at various Country Parks throughout the year. The Beacon Hill Volunteer Group get together on the second and third Sundays of the month. Work sessions run from 10am to 3pm.
Click here for more information about all Country Parks volunteering opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please check our FAQs Page to find answers to our most commonly asked questions.

Photo Gallery

Watermead Reedbed
Check out our photos of the country park in our Photo Gallery. We'd love to see your photos from around the park too. Email them to us, or why not share them on Facebook, and we may use them on the website!

Contact Details

Tel: 0116 305 5000 (8.30am - 5pm Mon - Thu, 8.30am - 4.30pm Fri).    Outside of these times, emergencies only please.
Email:    Emails are checked during the week. You will not receive a response to your email at weekends or Bank Holidays.

Other Local Sites
Watermead Country Park (South) and Riverside Park - managed by Leicester City Council
Cossington Meadows - managed by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust

Page Last Updated: 27 May 2014