Watermead Country Park

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Watermead Country Park lies to the north of Leicester, just south of the A47 bypass road. The area was used up until the 1870s to produce gravel for industrial use. When the extraction finished, the park was taken over by local councils to provide an area of natural amenity for Leicester. The walk starts from the John Merrick car park, named after a local Olympic yachtsmen tragically killed in a car accident. It passes along flat, surfaced paths to reach the largest area of water in the park, King Lear's Lake, (the legendary King Lear is supposed to have been buried in a chamber near the River Soar), before passing through woods and beside smaller ponds and lakes to reach the River Soar. The walk continues alongside the Soar, which is crossed by way of a weir to reach the Grand Union Canal.

The return to the car park is by way of the canal towpath. About 50% of the walk is on surfaced paths, the other 50% on well-maintained, flat and grassy paths. The variety of wildlife is amazing, I photographed a heron on the canalbank when writing up the walk and there are many, many different species of bird and a wide range of wetland plant species too. If you come at dusk you may well see some of the three species of bat that inhabit the area, most spectacularly Daubenton's bat, which swoops low over the lake surfaces (see note about car parks, however).

England - Central England - Leicestershire - Common or Park


Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Good for Kids, Good for Wheelchairs, Lake/Loch, Mostly Flat, Nature Trail, Play Area, Public Transport, River, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
9/16/2013 - Jill Willis

This is brilliant for dogs.

9/16/2013 - Jill Willis

A lovely walk and very easy, with good, well marked paths. We've been to Watermead several times and never realised how varied the scenery and habitats are. I was very excited to see several great crested grebes on King Lear's lake and we saw a heron fly across the John Merrick lake to land in a willow tree beside the car park when we arrived. It was still sitting there on a low branch when we returned. Sadly, I didn't have my camera!

9/3/2011 - Mangal Mistry

02/09/11 – My wife and I really enjoyed this walk today. This is a really nice, short easy walk in beautiful surroundings, with plenty of wildlife. There are lakes, river, canal, woods, open green spaces, picnic sites. Instructions were perfect, - you can’t go wrong. Most of the paths are tarmaced and dotted with amazing artwork. You can see my photos at : http://tinyurl.com/3vmtxzc Note: On entering car park area turn left to ‘John Merrick Lake’ car park.

1/17/2011 - Richard Hardy