Wildlife at the Grange Nature Reserve
At the heart of Snibston Country Park is the Grange Nature Reserve. It has a late Victorian arboretum with a diverse range of mature native and foreign species of tree, a wetland area with boardwalk, an established wildflower meadow and two well-stocked fishing lakes. The Grange became Leicestershire County Council’s first Local Nature Reserve in May 1993.
Once the gardens of the Colliery Manager, the Nature Reserve is now an important ecological site for wildlife within the Country Park.
The woodland has a fine collection of broad-leaved and coniferous trees. Listen for the calls and songs of birds like warblers, bluetits and thrushes. Identify the trees by looking on the ground for clues like fallen leaves, twigs, cones and seeds. In the spring and early summer look for colourful scented woodland flowers such as snowdrops, blue-bells, primroses, ramsons and foxgloves which attract insects like the six spot burnet.
Leaving the woodland, you enter the meadow. Traditionally used for grazing cattle or sheep and for making hay, meadows are a home to grasses and wildflowers as well as insects and field mice. Snibston’s meadow is mown for hay in late summer once the flowers have shed their seeds. In summer look for the distinctive flower heads of grasses like cocksfoot, meadow foxtail and timothy. Also look for wildflowers like birdsfoot trefoil, buttercups, common sorrel and meadow vetchling. Watch out for butterflies such as the common blue.
Marshland is formed on wet and poorly drained ground, often near a spring, pond or lake. Marshes have distinctive plants like the grey-green spikey clumps of hard rush and tufted hair-grass. Typical flowers include lady’s smock, marsh marigold, marsh thistle and ragged robin. Abundant insect life attracts hunters like hawker dragonflies. Mice and frogs in turn provide food for grass snakes. Birds such as the reed bunting and sedge warbler can often be found nearby.
A hedgerow is a narrow strip of woodland that provides sanctuary for wildlife. Hawthorn is the most common shrub in the park but others including blackthorn, elder and hazel can be found as well as occasional trees like oak and ash. Hedges provide food and shelter for bank voles, hedgehogs, thrushes, warblers and butterflies. Ground flora species such as brambles, cow parsley, hedge woundwort, nettles and red campion are all found here.
The reserve has a number of ponds which are home to a variety of plants and wildlife. The shallows support emergent plants such as branched bur-reed, floating sweet grass, yellow flag iris and water plantain. The ponds are breeding sites for frogs and newts and many insects such as dragonflies, pond skaters and diving beetles.
The Grange Nature Reserve has two one acre fishing lakes stocked with a variety of fish, including roach, perch, tench, bream, barble, chub and carp. ‘Carp Lake’ has two islands surrounded by 20 fishing pegs, some with facilities for anglers with disabilities. Day or season tickets can be purchased. Match bookings are also available from September to April. For all fishing enquiries call 01530 278450.
Page Last Updated: 6 November 2012