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Explore Sence Valley
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 5/5)

Enjoy some quality time outdoors with family and friends at Sence Valley. Activities at the park include fishing on one of the lakes, a bridleway and surfaced trails which provide access for walkers, cyclists and are wheelchair accessible.


Surfaced trails run throughout the woodland, and around the lakes. All surfaced trails are fully accessible although the paths leading from the top car park to the lakes are relatively steep. Some informal tracks through the trees are being created with the on-site volunteer group to provide alternative routes around the site, these informal trails are uneven and may be muddy at certain times of year.


A cycle route through the park links Heather village to the A447 Ravenstone Road at Ibstock.

Picnic sites

There are 3 picnic areas within the grounds. Near to both car parks and also at a scenic point next to Horseshoe Lake.

Learning at Sence Valley

Sence Valley offers a fantastic learning opportunity for people of all ages and abilities, combining hands-on education with ideas for active minds.

NEW - Onsite learning provider: A new purpose built pre-school is now running out of Sence Valley. For more information contact Mini Explorers.

The history of Sence Valley

From 1982 to 1996 this section of Sence Valley formed part of a large opencast mining area which covered appoximately 186 hectares (460 acres). During this period approximately 8 million tonnes of coals was extracted from the site for use as fuel in the power industry. In 1996 when coal extraction had finished the soil was compacted, cultivated and a drainage system installed. 60 hectares (150 acres) were given over to Leicestershire County Council to form the forest park and in the winter of 1998 around 98,000 trees were planted to restore the landscape that we see here today.

Sence Valley Forest Park is a wonderful example of how a disused opencast colliery can be transformed into a diverse wildlife haven. After being planted with over 98,000 trees this 150 acre site was opened to the public in September 1998 as part of The National Forest. The park contains woodland, lakes linking to the River Sence, grassland and a wildflower meadow.

Thanks to the varied habitat 150 bird species have been recorded at the park. An artificial Sand Martin nesting wall has also been constructed alongside the Horseshoe Lake. This along with the bird hide makes the site an excellent spot for birdwatchers.

Please note: the contact details for obtaining a fishing permit have now changed. If you would like to fish on Sence Valley, please contact us using the details below.

The National Forest

The National Forest is an area of 200 square miles across the 3 counties of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire, where massive woodland creation and countryside tranformation is being carried out. The forest is being expanded, with the aim of linking the ancient Forests of Charnwood and Needwood, for the benefit of local communities and wildlife.

New woodlands will complement ancient woodland, meadows, lakes and rivers, parks, towns and other visitor attractions to create a new forest for the nation.

The National Forest EXPLORE leaflet, giving a map of where the Forestry Commission sites are in the area, is available here to download as a pdf.

What do other visitors say?

5 Stars 5 Stars

Absolutely fantastic place to walk with the family,great picnic areas ,We will be back .and a very clean park.

Carmen&Ian betts, 14/Feb/2018
5 Stars 5 Stars

Went today for the first time absolutely beautiful considering it was a open cast mine wife and kids loved it. Will be on are list of places to go from now on

Ian, 7/May/2017
5 Stars 5 Stars

Beautiful place to go with family!

Sara, 16/Feb/2017

Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at if you have an enquiry, a complaint or would like a personal reply to your comments.

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Last updated: 18th June 2018

Help us take care of your forest

What's Here?

  • Educational
  • Walking
  • Toliets
  • Arts
  • Look out for one of six Noon Columns that are dotted across The National Forest.
  • Cycling
  • A cycle route links Heather village to the A447 Ravenstone Road at Ibstock.
  • Fishing
  • Allowed on Goss Water by permit. Contact the office on 01889 586593.
  • Horse riding
  • A Bridleway links Heather village to the A447 Ravenstone Road at Ibstock. See OS Explorer Map 245 for more details.
  • Orienteering
  • Orienteering is an activity that improves map reading and navigational skills. You can run, jog or walk courses of various lengths and difficulty and it is enjoyed by all ages from under 5 to over 90. Free maps and information from Leicestershire Orienteering Club.
  • Picnic
  • There are 3 picnic areas within the grounds.
  • Wildlife
  • A Bird Hide over looks Stonebridge Pool and a seasonal wetland scrape.
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: SK 404113
Postcode: LE67 6NW

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England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.