Brocks Hill Country Park has officially been designated a Local Nature Reserve. Open green spaces and access to nature have been and continue to be vital to the physical and mental health of many people. Brocks Hill has provided a haven for people and wildlife throughout the spring and summer of 2020, and should do so for many generations to come.
Brocks Hill Country Park meets the requirements for being a Local Nature reserve as it is locally important for wildlife, enjoyment and education. Brocks Hill provides vital habitats for a diversity of wildlife and is cherished by its many visitors as an enjoyable and accessible place to visit all year round.
Brocks Hill was awarded a Bees’ Needs Award in 2018 and 2019 for providing excellent habitats and management for bees and other pollinators by Keep Britain Tidy and DEFRA. There were only a selected number of other sites across the UK that received this award. Brocks Hill has also achieved a Green Flag Award for parks of excellence and a Natural England Country Parks accreditation.
LNR status would enhance Brocks Hill’s value and ensure it maintains high standards now and into the future, in accordance with the management plan. Over 680 animal, plant and fungi species have been recorded at the country park and there are sure to be many more to be found, meaning Brocks Hill is a hotspot for biodiversity in the Borough.
Habitats such as woodland and species-rich meadows are reasonably rare across the Borough and county. Woodland covers 4% of Leicestershire and Rutland, with broadleaved woodland cover at only 1.8%. The Borough has a relatively small proportion of rural land, with tiny pockets of woodland; therefore the wooded areas of Brocks Hill contribute greatly to the overall woodland cover of the Borough and the wider county.
Species-rich neutral grassland covers just 1,165ha of Leicestershire and Rutland; a small area for a nationally important habitat. At Brocks Hill, there are over 7ha of wildflower meadows, providing a vital refuge for many species of butterfly, bee, bird and grasshopper. The medieval ridge and furrow field is a rare feature within the Borough and the county and should be conserved for future generations. Altogether, the countryside of Brocks Hill Country Park represents an important proportion of semi-natural habitats in the Borough.
The Borough of Oadby and Wigston Local Plan 2019 states: ‘With the Borough being relatively compact and urban in nature, Green Wedges are extremely important; they play major roles in shaping the character of the environment and help stimulate leisure and tourism whilst improving residents and visitors quality of life.’