A taste of the countryside in the city best describes the Aylestone Meadows. Its diverse landscape of woodlands, wetlands, open grasslands, streams and ponds help give the great variety of wildlife. Long Horn rare breed cattle grazing on the wet meadows close to the Pack Horse Bridge during the summer months, reinforces this feeling of a long lost rural idyll.
As Leicester’s largest Local Nature Reserve the Meadows has a wide variety of habitats supporting a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Scarce plants such as Slender Spike Rush, the first found in Leicestershire since 1880; Tubular Water Dropwort, a rapidly declining species, less commonly found Marsh Arrow Grass, Ragged Robin and Lady’s Smock all feature on the site. Fauna such as Otters.
The Great Central Way which once formed a part of the Great Central Railway forms a part of the both the cities cycle routes and Sustrans National Cycle route 6. This 4 mile pathway is ideal for walkers, horse riders and cyclists. Partly tarmacked, the level surface is ideal for those who have mobility restrictions or young cyclists gaining confidence. From this many other pathways lead off around other areas of the Meadows including the canal towpath or the boardwalk.
Aylestone Meadows forms the southern end of the Leicester Riverside that stretches through the heart of the city to Watermead Country Park in the north.
Kings Lock Tearooms can be found by Kings Lock on the canal. Open during the summer months at weekends and certain weekdays the tearoom provides a welcome break overlooking parts of the meadows.