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Leicestershire & Rutland Ornithological Society
Bradgate Park and Cropston Reservoir

Old John, Bradgate Park © Jim Graham

Grid ref: SK 530 110 (centre of Bradgate Park); SK 545 110 (Cropston Res) (OS Landranger 129)

Bradgate Park is situated some seven miles north of Leicester; there are car parks (parking charges: £1.50 weekdays, £2.00 weekends & Bank Holidays) at: Newtown Linford (SK 523 097); Hunt's Hill (SK 523 117) & Hallgates (SK 542 114). The latter is the nearest to Cropston Reservoir: follow the road through the park to view the western shore and inflow; alternatively park in the small layby on the B5330 at SK 551 111. The park can get extremely crowded at weekends.


Bradgate Park is relatively uninteresting ornithologically, the Redstarts, Whinchats and Wood Warblers that formerly bred having all disappeared. Little Owls are fairly common, particularly in the old oaks around the ruins of Bradgate House (SK 534 102), and small numbers of Stonechats can usually be found in the winter in the same area. Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are occasionally seen in the various spinneys, but Green Woodpeckers are much more obvious as they feed on old ant hills. The

  Bradgate Park © Jim Graham

River Lin, which flows along the southern edge of the park, is good for Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher, with occasional Redpoll and Siskin in the alders there. Several pairs of Tree Pipits breed, and recently Ravens have been seen.

The inflow of Cropston Reservoir used to be good for waders, but in recent years the water level has been kept high, and the reservoir generally has been very disappointing. As with any inland reservoir, though, interesting birds can turn up at any time, and recent highlights have included Little Egret, Ferruginous Duck, Black-throated Diver, Slavonian, Black-necked & Red-necked Grebes and Eider.

Cropston Reservoir © Jim Graham
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