Billa Barra

Stand on an ancient hill with views that reach out across the Geopark.

Inclined rocky crags, with several trees in the middle distance
Inclined rocky crags, with several trees in the middle distance

This 20 hectare local nature reserve, located in the north of the borough of Hinckley and Bosworth, consists of a variety of habitats including acid grassland, which is ecologically significant at a local level. Additionally, there are a number of rocky outcrops of the Bradgate Formation, making the hill a regionally important geological site.

The site was purchased by Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council with grant aid from the National Forest Company. It was a major focus for fund-raising during 1996/7 and some of the land was donated by Tarmac plc.

The hill top is ecologically interesting, with areas of acid grassland and an old conifer plantation.  The pools in the abandoned quarry support a variety of species, including a rare lichen, only found at one other site in Leicestershire.  The improved grassland on the slopes of the hill below the gorse scrub line are being planted with native broadleaved trees which will be used as local provenance seed stock.

The hill top is a Regionally Important Geological site, with a natural outcrop of pre-Cambrian rocks, similar to those found at in places like Bradgate Park. The rocks of Billa Barra are around 560 million years old, and were shaped into a hill at the end of the Permian period. Around this hill, the Triassic deposits of 230 million years ago were deposited, and can still be seen to this day as red sandstones and siltstones. Billa Barra continues to stick up from amongst the surrounding Triassic sediments, meaning that to stand on Billa Barra today, is to stand on top of somewhere that has been a hill for a quarter of a billion years!

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