Things to see and do
There are many things to see and do on the site and in the local area, depending on your interests. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Visit the welcome barn
If this is your first visit, pop into the welcome barn and have a look round. It’s only a short walk from the car park along a surfaced track. You will find a range of interesting information relating to the site which will help you decide where you want to start first, which route to take and what to look out for. It’s also an intersection for a number of major routes leading off into the wood, including the three waymarked trails.
Do a spot of bird watching from the bird hide
You don’t have to be a birder or a twitcher to appreciate the great bird hide on the site, funded by the Arts Council. It’s just to the south of the lake a short walk downhill from the welcome barn, and contains a willow sculpture enclosed within the ceiling. The hide overlooks the lake and two tern rafts (floating islands for birds) as well as a wildlife conservation area. The site has already become known among birders locally, with some interesting species recorded here, including curlew, whooper swan and hen harrier – see our latest birding blog for details. Don't forget your binoculars!
Tell the time with the sundial
If you forget your watch or phone, don’t despair! You will be able to tell the time with a bespoke artist-designed sundial which is located to the north-west of the site, off School Lane. If you stand at the centre of the sundial at the marked point, your shadow tells the time, depending on the position of the sun. The individual hour markers are carved blocks of stone indicating the distance to far off countries such as Estonia and Russia. If the sun’s not out though, you may need a map and a back-up time piece!
Navigate the Now and Then art feature
Funded by the Arts Council, this landscape-scale art-piece designed by artist Rosie Leventon is located on the hill above the lake. Looking from the outside like an ancient earthwork, the centre is an amphitheatre-like hollow bowl, the inner edge of which spirals down to the bottom and can be followed like a pathway. See how fast you can get to the bottom and back up again and have a race against your own results or those of your family.
Take a photo at the photographic plinth
Designed by the artist Patricia Swannell, ‘Legacy’ is a print and photography project conceived and designed by Patricia and part-funded by the Arts Council England. It will record the growth of the emerging wood by photographing one family in the same place each year for the next 60 years against the background of the growing woodland. You can also take photos at the plinth to mimic the artistic concept. Find it a short distance down the slope from the welcome barn adjacent to the surfaced track.
Go pond-dipping from the purpose-built platform
Bring a net and see what you can catch from the pond-dipping platform located by the bird hide on the western edge of the lake. But don’t forget to put your catch back before you go!
Join the family time trail
There are 12 giant coins to discover, representing the Iron Age up to the present day. Set along a surfaced track, each coin is laid on a brass disc embedded in a sandstone block. This surfaced trail is great fun for all the family to follow with a few surprises and fun challenges along the way. You can take rubbings of each of the individual coins, the aim being to find and collect them all as you follow the route. Download the family time trail booklet to bring with you and don’t forget to bring your crayons or pencils!
Become a Nature Detective
For kids and kids at heart, visit Nature Detectives for lots of ideas on fun woodland activities, such as games, art, and wildlife and plant identification. Get the free downloads before you set out and you won't be short of ideas to keep you going all day long.
Meander through the jubilee groves
This pleasant walk takes you from the car park through the grove areas up to the lake. Sixty-one groves of trees have been planted in this section of the site – one for each year of the Queen’s reign up to 2012, including the coronation year (hence 61 rather than 60). Each grove is marked by an oak post and two plaques, one denoting the sponsor and the year and the other a native wild animal or tree.
Have a go at geocaching
Get out into the wood and hunt for our caches. Collect the stamps as you go. Can you find them all?
Follow a waymarked trail
Take your pick from three waymarked circular trails – one short, one medium and one long – or just go where the fancy takes takes you along one of the many permissive paths.
Take a pew and enjoy the view
There are a number of bespoke artist-designed benches around the site, located to give you a great view of the woodland. So stop a while at each bench, take a seat, and enjoy the view.
Identify trees with our Tree ID app
Our free Tree ID app will help you to identify all the UK's native trees and many non-native trees you'll find when out and about in the British countryside.
Become a friend of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood
The QEDJW has a Friends of Group who are actively involved in the woodland, such as leading guided walks, assisting in events and giving help and advice to visitors. Find out more about their activities or how to volunteer with the Trust.
Other things to do nearby
Cattows farm shop and tea room
Located on Swepstone Road, Heather, just 10-minutes drive from the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood, the Cattows farm shop and team room can provide a much-needed break during your woodland excursion. The shop offers an array of award-winning jams, chutneys, milk, cheese, eggs and cakes from small specialist producers both locally and a little further afield. You can also buy a wide range of soft fruit and vegetables grown on the farm as well as Leicestershire-reared and butchered beef, lamb and pork. If you have any energy left after your walk, you can also ‘pick your own’ seasonal fruit, such as strawberries and raspberries. Their tea room is open seven days a week for main meals, light bites homemade desserts and Sunday lunch.
Normanton le Heath
The nearest village to the site is Normanton le Heath, approximately 2.4km (1½ miles) away. This very small, picturesque village has a long history and was first recorded in 1209. The Holy Trinity church was built in the 13th century and features a roof over the chancel which is said to be of the same design as that of Westminster Hall in Westminster Abbey.
Ashby de la Zouch
This small market town is 6.4km (four miles) away and has a lot to offer its visitors. The attractions include:
The ruins of the Ashby de la Zouch castle with underground tunnels and audio interpretation.
Conkers theme park with its assault course, barefoot walk and high ropes.
The Staunton Harold Estate which covers 2,000 acres and includes some fabulous walks, a garden centre, cafe and other small outlet shops.
Just over 11km (seven miles) from the wood, this large town has a number of attractions, including:
The recently refurbished Donington le Heath Manor House Museum – now known as The 1620s House and Garden – which was built around 700 years ago. Visitors can see displays of medieval life, experience living history enactments and enjoy the gardens.
Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, a cistercian monastic community which is open to the public. It has a gift shop where visitors can buy a range of attractive and popular pottery made by the monks in the abbey pottery, as well as the abbey's own range of honey.
Thornton reservoir in the national forest just outside Coalville is located in a quiet, picturesque valley and was opened to the public in 1997.
For details on these and many other attractions in the area, visit TripAdvisor.