South of the City between Aylestone and Rowley Fields
The Aylestone Meadows is part of Leicester Riverside and is the largest single area of green open space in the city, forming a wedge of land between Aylestone and Narborough Roads opening out as it continues southwards to the city boundary by the Soar Valley Way, most of which is part of Aylestone Meadows Local Nature Reserve.
A sense of being in a natural environment exists despite it being very much within the urban area of the city, a real escape to the countryside on the doorstep and with easy access at all times of the year, there is always something to see and enjoy, whatever the weather.
- Nature Conservation
- Volunteering Opportunities
- Interesting Inhabitants
- Kings Lock Tearooms
- Parks Sporting Facilities
- Play Area
- Park Users
- How To Get There
- Parking & Access Information
Aylestone Meadows comprises of many acres of nature reserve and is an important wildlife corridor through Leicester providing habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Parts of the site are designated as a Local Nature Reserve and they support many wetland and grassland species particularly in the flood meadows that are grazed by the longhorn cattle. These include Slender Spike Rush, which has not been found in Leicestershire & Rutland since 1800 and is usually a coastal plant of the salt marshes; Tubular Water Dropwort a rapidly declining species; and Marsh Arrow Grass. It is also home to a unique willow that is a quadruple hybrid between Goat, Grey and Purple Willows together with Osier, a new record not just for Leicestershire but for the whole of the British Isles.
Top of the page
Many opportunities exist for people to volunteer and help manage this much loved site with regular monthly work parties organised through The Conservation Volunteers.
The Park Force Volunteers are people of all ages and from all walks of life who roll their sleeves up and get involved in helping maintenance, cleaning and improvement works at this and other sites across the city.
In May 2013, Aylestone Meadows will be hosting the annual BioBlitz event, a weekend for the community to record as many different species as possible. Go to our BioBlitz 2013 page for more details.
Rare Breed Cattle
During the summer months a herd of traditional Leicestershire rare breed Long Horn Cattle can be found grazing the species of rich grass fields south of Braunstone Lane East near the Pack Horse bridge. A footpath passes around the outside of the field with another passing through the field, which is safe to use providing you do not deliberately disturb the herd by walking up to them. Despite their fierce looks they are known as a docile breed but as they often have calves with them they will obviously become very protective towards their young.
In recent years Otters are known to have returned to the site after a thirty year absence which is a very welcome indication that the environment is improving.
A flash of blue b y the water may indicate Kingfishers skimming by and with patience and a sharp eye they can be spotted in their regular fishing area waiting, watching ready to dive in the water looking for frogs or other creatures to eat.
Top of the page
The tearooms have both indoor and outdoor seating, overlooking. Open during the summer months at weekends and certain weekdays. It's located near the Kings Lock which is short walk from Marsden Lane along the towpath. For details of opening times contact Tony or Julie 07722 542034
There are several football pitches on the Aylestone Playing Fields are of the meadows, with changing facilities proposing to be opened in Autumn 2012, for which funding has been received from the Football Foundation.
Read here for more information about Sport On Parks facilities
Located off the Canal Street car park is St Andrews Football Club providing football for the local community.
Fishing along the canal towpath is managed by the Canal and Rivers Trust with further details available from John Harding 01829 732748.
For fishing elsewhere on Leicester's Waterways contact Leicester Riverside
Top of the page
Families with children are actively encouraged to play on the Meadows with two dedicated play areas for children of all ages. The Open Minded Play Space, children can explore the natural environment with it's hummocks, long grass, winding paths and a story telling platform, the nearest car park being at Aylestone Mill Lock. A traditional play area with swings and other play equipment can be accessed at Aylestone Playing Fields, off Braunstone Lane East. As well as these formal areas there are many spaces that lend themselves to casual open air play activities and with care many locations at which you can pond dip.
Aylestone Meadows User Group hold quarterly meetings to enable the public to talk directly with the managers of the site, discussing what work is planned or in progress. Guest speakers are also invited to talk about projects that the public have identified and wish to learn more about.
For further information contact Leicester Riverside
Top of the page
Buses from Leicester
Aylestone Road Buses: 73, 84, 84a, 85, and 87, with access points from Grace Road stop onwards, including Middleton Street and Gilmorton Avenue. Narborough Road Buses: 50,50a and 140 with the best access point being Evesham Road
Cycle Route 6 on the Great Central Way from the city centre or Blaby in the county and any of the routes highlighted on the Leicester City Council Cycle Route Maps
If walking follow the great Central Way from the city or county or by using the towpath from both directions. Seats are installed at many locations for those wanting to take a break.
The Meadows has a large path network made from tarmac, compacted stone, grass, bark chippings and raised boardwalks, suitable for most people who wish to walk, cycle or use pushchairs and wheelchairs.
The none tarmac paths may make access more limited for certain users.
Aylestone Mill is accessed from the Aylestone Road opposite Grace Road, alongside a car tyre garage unit with another at Canal Street to the rear of Granby Primary School of the Aylestone Road. A further car park is on the Braunstone Lane East for easy access to the play area and sports playing field.
There are also smaller parking areas at Evesham Road, Marsden Lane and Gilmorton Avenue.
For more information contact: Parks Services on 0116 454 1003
Top of the page