Charnwood Forest

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Charnwood Forest, as defined by Natural England
Bluebells in Swithland Wood
Old John, Bradgate Park

Charnwood Forest is an area in north-western Leicestershire, England, near Leicester, Loughborough, and Coalville.

Although called a forest, it is extremely varied, with many different areas. It has 45 sites of geological or wildlife interest. Above all, it is the only site in Europe where the Ediacaran fossil Charnia is found.

The area has some extensive tracts of woodland. It is undulating, rocky and picturesque, with barren areas. It is generally 600 ft (180 m) and upwards. On its western side is an abandoned coalfield, with Coalville and other former mining villages. This is now being regenerated and replanted as part of the National Forest. The M1 motorway cuts through Charnwood Forest.

The hard stone of Charnwood Forest has been quarried for centuries, and was a source of grind-stones.[1] The granite quarries are of national importance and supply crushed stone ("aggregate") to much of southern Britain.

Charnwood Forest includes a National Nature Reserve (NNR), 19 SSSIs, four geological conservation sites of international importance, and another six conservation sites, 13 Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS), five local nature reserves (LNRs), and seven Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust (LRWT) nature reserves.

The Forest is an important recreational area with woodland walks, noted for their displays of bluebells in the early spring. Rockclimbing and walking are popular.

References[change | change source]

  1. Ambrose, Keith et al 2007. Exploring the landscape of Charnwood Forest and Mountsorrel: a walkers' guide to the rocks and landscape of Charnwood Forest and Mountsorrel. Keyworth, Nottingham: British Geological Survey. ISBN 978-0-85272-570-2