Monday, May 20, 2024

Bradgate Park named as a new National Nature Reserve

Good news from the Leicester Mercury:

Leicestershire’s Bradgate Park, which inspired a young Sir David Attenborough and his love of all things nature, has been named a new National Nature Reserve. The beloved beauty spot, near Newtown Linford, was granted the coveted status as part of ongoing celebrations to mark King Charles III’s coronation.

The site, which spans 439 hectares, is home to rare fossils of early marine life forms from the Precambrian Period more than half a billion years ago. The fossils, known as the Ediacaran biota, can only be found in Bradgate Park. Their discovery helped revolutionise people’s understanding of how life evolved on Earth.

Alongside its rich history spanning the ages, Bradgate Park is also known for its wildlife, including deer. important grassland habitats and some of the only remaining heath in the area. The park also includes the remains of the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey.

Bradgate Park’s new National Nature Reserve status also extends to the nearby Swithland Wood reserve, which includes the former Swithland Slate quarries. The site is home to the rare ‘Charnwood spider’ as well as other important wildlife including Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Bradgate Park belonged to the Grey family until the 19th century. In 1928 it was bought by bought by a local businessman and Charles Bennion who gave it "in perpetuity to the people of Leicestershire". It is now administered by a charitable trust, whose trustees are nominated by Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council and the National Trust.

Just as Market Harborough people's first instinct on a sunny Saturday is to head for Foxton Locks, so in Leicester they go to Bradgate Park.

The Stiperstones, incidentally, were proposed as another of these new national reserves earlier this year.

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