Size:

50.52 ha (124.83 acres)

Grid reference:

SK390132

Map reference:

Explorer NULL

OS Landranger NULL

Planted in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, there’s so much to discover here. A bird watcher’s paradise, the wood has an abundance of wildlife, including the skylarks, buzzards and the rare hen harrier.

Kids will love to explore this wood, thanks to the many art features, fun trails and even a pond-dipping platform. With so much to see and do, a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood is sure to be one you’ll never forget.

Features

  • Parking at site
  • Public access
  • Spring flowers
  • Waymarked walk
  • Grassland
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood (QEDJW) lies in the National Forest in north-west Leicestershire, 24.1km (15 miles) from Leicester, 6.4km (4 miles) from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 11.2km (7 miles) from Coalville, and close to the village of Normanton le Heath.

From Leicester, travel west along the A50, and go through five roundabouts. At the sixth roundabout (M11 junction), take the third exit onto the A511 then continue over the next roundabout. After 2.4km (1.5 miles), take a slight left onto the B585 (Beveridge Lane).

At the next roundabout, take the second exit onto Whitehill Road, and at the next, the first exit onto Ibstock Road. Continue onto Leicester Road. At the next roundabout, take the second exit onto Ashby Road and continue onto Pisca Lane. At the following roundabout, take the second exit onto Ravenstone Road, then turn left onto Normanton Lane. Continue onto Heather Lane, where you will find the car park on your right.

From the M1, junction 22, take the A511 towards Coalville, then the first turning at the roundabout for the A447 (south). After 4km (2.5 miles) you will approach Ibstock. Take a right turn towards Normanton le Heath into Pisca Lane, then continue as above.

If coming from the west/north on the A42, take the A511 towards Coalville. Just before Coalville take the A447 (south) and continue as above.

The nearest train stations are in Burton, 24km (15 miles) away, Tamworth, 24km (15 miles) away, and Loughborough, 25.7km (16 miles) away.

Visit National Rail for more information.

Though there are no buses running to/from Normanton le Health, several buses run from Leicester to Coalville and from Coalville to Ravenstone.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

The main access point is from the car park off Heather Lane, between the villages of Heather and Normanton Le Heath. Do not use School Lane in Normanton le Heath to access the wood, as it is narrow and can be hazardous.

Pedestrian access gates are of an all-abilities model with a RADAR key padlock that allows the latch to be pulled back fully and the gate swung wide open. The rest of the gates are standard kissing gates.

A variety of permissive footpaths, mostly grassed, run through and around the site, linking it to surrounding woodland.

There are three waymarked surfaced paths, free of obstructions, which provide circular trails running through the new woodland from the car park to the lake.

The main loop is suitable for wheelchair and pushchair users.

The white route extends to 3km (1.9 miles) and connects the 61 Diamond Jubilee Groves before going past the lake and up to the ancient woodland at the far end of the site, and then returning.

A number of long but relatively gentle slopes are encountered when first entering the wood from the car park.

A surfaced bridle path installed by UK Coal runs along the eastern boundary adjacent to Bowers Brook to the northern corner, connecting into the surrounding bridle-path network.

There is a car park on Heather Lane which is signed from the roadside. It has space for 53 cars and is locked mornings and evenings. It opens at 8am daily and closes at 8pm from April-October and 5pm from November-March.

The car park also includes space for coaches but access needs to be arranged prior to visiting so the height barrier can be raised.

The nearest toilets are in Coalville Market (open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm; and Sunday, 10am to 4pm) which has disabled and baby changing facilities; and Derby Road in Ashby (open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm), which offers baby changing facilities and disabled facilities by RADAR key.

Toilet facilities are also available for customers of Cattows Farm and Shop, LE67 2RF, a 10-minute drive away. They have a disabled toilet and baby changing facilities, but all are housed in an outside block and can be busy during peak times.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood is brimming with birdlife. Brush up on your bird-spotting skills at the bird hide or wander down to the open areas where ground-nesting birds, such as skylarks, can be found. The east of the site is home to mute swans, little grebes, tufted ducks, terns and mallards. At night, look out for the tawny and barn owls as they search the ground for prey.

Visit during spring and summer to see butterflies in abundance, including the stunning marbled white. Watchful eyes might also spot a wandering deer, and keep a look-out for brown hares in more open areas.

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Trees, plants and fungi

Following the planting of 300,000 native broadleaf trees from 2012-2015, QEDJW is now flourishing into a beautiful young woodland made up of oak, field maple, silver birch, beech and hornbeam, to name just a few. Bluebell and wood anemone light up the forest floor in the ancient woodland areas in springtime, and at the lake you’ll find vegetation including bull rush and yellow iris.

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Habitats

The mix of semi-natural ancient broadleaf woodland and wetland provides the ideal habitats for a variety of species.

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History of Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood

Several archaeological finds have been discovered on the QEDJW site over the years. These include a number of items dating from the Neolithic period onwards, such as flint shards, a Bronze Age palstave (axe) in mint condition which was found by a farm labourer in the 1970s, and medieval pottery.

Early purple orchids

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean

Things to do in Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood

Walking

A walk around the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood is the perfect opportunity to discover the many features of the site.

Bird watching

Bird watchers and nature lovers will enjoy stepping inside the bird hide, funded by the Arts Council. Just south of the lake, a short walk downhill from the welcome barn, the hide features a willow sculpture and is the perfect place to watch our feathered friends go about their day-to-day routines.

Pond-dipping

Why not bring a net along and have a go at capturing a minibeast or two? Our purpose-built platform is a stone’s throw from the bird hide on the western edge of the lake, and allows you to have a go at catching critters on top of or under the water. Just make sure you put them back!