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The best garden tools for wildlife and your garden.

n this article we tend to take a look at the best garden tools for wildlife in your garden. We want to have a look at the tools that will have the absolute minimum impact on wildlife, whilst being totally practical for use your garden.

It’s so easy just to walk into a shop and buy a garden tools, but the problem is you really don’t know how it’s going to affect the garden, as well as the wildlife in it. We’re going to go through in-depth some of the most sympathetic and easy-to-use garden tools.

The humble fork and spade.

When it comes to turning over the garden the most sympathetic tools are those that are operated by hand. You really can’t go wrong with a simple fork and spade. The worst damage that you can do is to earthworms. But even if you split one you won’t kill it. It’s a well-known fact that it won’t die if you cut the tail off of a worm it will continue to live and repair itself. So, when possible, use a fork to minimise catching them, but when it’s not possible don’t be concerned about using a garden spade. Given that a fork and spade cause little vibration, it’s likely that you won’t upset any wildlife in your garden in the process.

Use hand shears rather than strimmers.

Because hand shears are extremely accurate, (that assumes a humans using them) they the least damage to wildlife in your garden. If you are to use trimmers, there’s a huge amount of vibration and they are not very accurate, you can easily disturb wildlife that you otherwise wouldn’t have with shears.

The other great thing about shears is the fact that they can’t so neatly. With this year’s cutting so neatly they do minimal damage to trees and shrubs, that means any of the new shrub ends can grow back and regenerate, that gives more opportunity for new growth and potentially for more wildlife to enter the garden and be accommodated According to Garden Toolbox and the dragon flies of Northampton really rely on this greenery too.

Use a rake to clear up rather than a leaf blower.

A rake is far more sensible when it comes to looking after the wildlife in your garden because there’s far less noise. Less sound is a good thing because wildlife can be extremely stressed by the noise. If there’s a human in the garden and they are just using a rake it has far left impact on their everyday life. By Stark contrast, if you use a leaf blower then they make an incredible amount of noise, and do an awful lot of damage to surrounding greenery at the same time. If you use the vacuum setting you can actually also suck up various wildlife insects as well. So overall, its far more sensible to use a rake because it’s just much nicer for the surrounding environment.

In conclusion wherever possible in your garden it’s far better to use hand tools than machines that are powered by electric or petrol. This is because it’s far more natural and does much less damage to the wildlife in general. I hope you enjoyed the article in if you think there’s anything else that we could mention in terms of improving the garden with hand tools then please do get in touch with me. We have no problem publishing your work as long as it’s high-quality and our readership would enjoy it.

Dragonflies of Northamptonshire

12 species of Dragonfly regularly found in Northamptonshire
Banded Demoiselle
Calopteryx splendens
Locally common
Habitat: Clean rivers and streams
River Nene at Yarwell, British Dragonfly Museum at Ashton
Emerald Damselfly
Lestes sponsa
Habitat: Still water, lakes and reservoirs with plenty of vegetation
Pitsford Reservoir
Red-eyed Damselfly
Erythromma najas
Locally common
Habitat: Still or slow moving water, reservoirs, lakes, canals and rivers
Lands on floating vegetation
British Dragonfly Museum at Ashton
Azure Damselfly
Coenagrion puella
Habitat: Still water
Often the first damselfly to appear in numbers
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Ischnura elegans
Very common
Habitat: Ponds, lakes, streams and reservoirs
Tolerant of small amounts of pollution
Common in most wetland habitats
Migrant Hawker
Aeshna mixta
Habitat: Still waters but can be seen in most habitats
Large numbers can be seen hunting along woodland rides in Sept
Southern Hawker
Aeshna cyanea
Habitat: Ponds, lakes and canals and woodland rides
Regularly seen patrolling woodland rides
Brown Hawker
Aeshna grandis
Habitat: Well-vegetated ponds, lakes and canals
Distinctive bronze wings
Can be seen in most habitats and easily identified in flight
Four-spotted Chaser
Libellula quadrimaculata
Locally common
Habitat: Ponds and canals
British Dragonfly Museum at Ashton
Broad-bodied Chaser
Libellula depressa
Locally common
Habitat: Ponds and canals
Black-tailed Skimmer
Orthetrum cancellatum
Locally common
Habitat: Ponds, canals and rivers
Regularly perches on the ground
River Nene
Common Darter
Sympetrum striolatum
Very Common
Habitat: Ponds and lakes
Regularly perches on the ground

Flowers of Northamptonshire

A selection of the Flowering Plants to be found in Northamptonshire
Greater Stitchwort
Stellaria holostea
Very common
Habitat: Woodland and hedgerows
Supported by surrounding plants as its thin stem cannot support itself
Red Campion
Silene dioica
Very common
Habitat: Woodland and hedgerows
Winter Aconite
Eranthis hyemalis
Locally common
Habitat: Woodland
Naturaslised from gardens, flowers very early
Delapre Abbey
Meadow Buttercup
Ranunculus acris
Habitat: Grassy places
Lesser Celandine
Ranunculus ficaria
Habitat: Woodland, hedgerows and grassy places
Sweet Violet
Viola odorata
Habitat: Woodland and hedgerows
Flowers can be white or more rarely lilac, yellow or pink
Primula vulgaris
Very common
Habitat: Woodland
Fermyn wood, Salcey Forest
Lesser Periwinkle
Vinca minor
Habitat: Woodland and hedgerows
Flowers early in the year
Field Forgetmenot
Myosotis arvensis
Habitat: Disturbed shady ground
White Dead-nettle
Lamium album
Habitat: Disturbed hadgerows and wasteland
Dipsacus fullonum
Habitat: Damp grassy places
River banks and gravel pits
Bellis perennis
Very common
Habitat: Short grassland
Ox-eye Daisy
Leucanthemum vulgare
Habitat: Grassy places
Tussilago farfara
Habitat: Bare ground and wasteland
Flowers early in the year
Black Knapweed
Centaurea nigra
Habitat: Grassland
Can be found flowering in November during mild years
Taraxacum officinale
Very common
Habitat: Grassland and wasteground
Hyacinthoides nonscripta
Locally common
Habitat: Woodland
Short Wood, Salcey Forest
Lords and Ladies
Arum maculatum
Habitat: Woodland and hedgerows
Early Purple Orchid
Orchis mascula
Locally common
Habitat: Woodland, hedgerows and grassland
Pyramid Orchid
Anacamptis pyramidalis
Locally uncommon
Habitat: Chalk grassland
Collyweston Delphs
Common Spotted Orchid
Dactylorhiza fuchsii
Habitat: Grassy places and scrubland
Embankments along disused railway lines are ideal
Man Orchid
Aceras anthropophorum
Locally rare
Habitat: Chalk grassland

Moths of Northamptonshire

The species of Butterfly regularly found in Northamptonshire
Peach Blossom
Thyatira batis
Habitat: Woodland
Early Thorn
Selenia dentaria
Habitat: Woodland and hedgerows
Scalloped Hazel
Odontopera bidentata
Habitat: Most habitats
Oak Beauty
Biston strataria
Habitat: Woodland and parkland
Poplar Hawk-moth
Laothoe populi
Habitat: Most habitats
Elephant Hawk-moth
Deilephila elpenor
Habitat: Most habitats
Swallow Prominent
Pheosia tremula
Habitat: Most habitats
Coxcomb Prominent
Ptilodon capucina
Habitat: Most habitats
Buff Ermine
Spilosoma luteum
Habitat: Most habitats
Small Quaker
Orthosia cruda
Habitat: Most habitats
Hebrew Character
Orthosia gothica
Habitat: Most habitats
Angle Shades
Phlogophora meticulosa
Habitat: Most habitats
Often found during the day resting on fences

Butterflies of Northamptonshire

The species of Butterfly regularly found in Northamptonshire
Grizzled Skipper
Pyrgus malvae
Locally common
Habitat: Meadows
Brigstock CP
Dingy Skipper
Erynnis tages
Locally common
Habitat: Grassland
Brigstock CP
Essex Skipper
Thymelicus lineola
Habitat: Flowery meadows
Difficult to distinguish from Small Skipper
Small Skipper
Thymelicus sylvestris
Very common
Habitat: Flowery grassland
Difficult to distinguish from Essex Skipper
Large Skipper
Ochlodes venata
Very common
Habitat: Meadows and woodland edges
Large White
Pieris brassicae
Very common
Habitat: Most habitats
Also known as Cabbage White
Small White
Pieris rapae
Very common
Habitat: Most habitats
Green-veined White
Pieris napi
Very common
Habitat: Most habitats
Often mistaken for Small White
Orange Tip
Anthocharis cardamines
Habitat: Most habitats
Clouded Yellow
Colias crocea
Habitat: Most open habitats
Migrant from the continent
Numbers vary from year to year but always uncommon
Gonepteryx rhamni
Habitat: Most habitats
Wood White
Leptidea sinapis
Locally uncommon
Habitat: Forest clearings and woodland edges
Feeble flight is distinctive
Salcey Forest
Purple Emperor
Apatura iris
Locally uncommon
Habitat: Oak woodland
A large butterfly with a powerful flight, usually stays in the tree tops
Hazelborough Forest, Fermyn Wood
White Admiral
Ladoga camilla
Locally common
Habitat: Broad-leaved woodland
Seen gliding through woodland glades on warm summer days
Salcey Forest, Bucknall Wood, Fermyn Wood
Small Tortoiseshell
Aglais urticae
Very common
Habitat: Most habitats
Adults overwinter
Polygonia c-album
Habitat: Most habitats
Two generations, the first is lighter in colour, adults overwinter
Painted Lady
Cynthia cardui
Regular summer visitor from North Africa
Habitat: Most habitats
Often on or near thistles

Historical view of Weekley Hall Wood

Ordnance Survey Details

Village / Site 100km Grid Grid Ref OS Map
Achurch TL 022830 141
Ailsworth Heath TF 115017 142
Aldwincle TL 005818 141
Althorp SP 683651 152
Apethorpe TL 023957 141
Apethorpe Lake TL 026956 141
Arthingworth SP 753814 141
Ashton Wold TL 092877 142
Astrop Park Lake SP 509367 151
Aynho SP 515333 151
Badby Wood SP 565583 152
Banbury SP 453403 151
Barford Meadows SP 855825 141
Barnack Hills and Holes TF 074047 142
Barnwell TL 050850 141/142
Barnwell CP GP TL 035874 141
Barton Seagrave SP 894774 141
Bedford Purlieus TL 033995 141/142
Billing Aquadrome SP 805612 152
Billing GP SP 826615 152
Blatherwycke SP 972956 141
Blatherwycke Lake SP 975964 141
Blisworth SP 727535 152
Boddington Res SP 497529 151
Borough Hill SP 589625 152
Boughton SP 753656 152
Boughton Park SP 895815 141
Bozenham Mill SP 767483 152
Brackley SP 586373 152
Brafield-on-the-Green SP 820589 152
Brampton Wood SP 855798 141
Braybrooke SP 764844 141
Brigstock SP 955854 141
Brigstock CP SP 953850 141
Brixworth SP 748705 141
Brixworth CP SP 752693 152
Brockhall SP 633627 152
Broughton SP 834756 141
Bucknell Wood SP 651448 152
Bulwick SP 962942 141
Bushey Wood TF 086020 142
Byfield SP 516532 151
Canons Ashby SP 578505 152
Canons Ashby Lakes SP 572505 152
Castle Ashby Lakes SP 866600 152
Castor Hanglands TF 122015 142
Charlton SP 529361 151
Charwelton SP 534560 152
Chelveston SP 990697 153
Clifford Hill GP SP 797603 152
Clipston SP 714815 141
Clopton TL 063803 142
Cogenhoe SP 825606 152
Cold Oak Copse SP 880575 152
Collingtree SP 751555 152
Collyweston Delphs TF 004037 141
Collyweston Great Wood TF 005010 141
Corby SP 882892 141
Cosgrove Lakes SP 798424 152
Cotterstock TL 048904 141
Cottesbrooke SP 710735 141
Cottingham SP 845901 141
Courteenhall SP 760530 152
Village / Site 100km Grid Grid Ref OS Map
Cranford SP 925773 141
Cransley Res SP 830781 141
Crick SP 588725 140
Croughton SP 546336 152
Daventry SP 570622 152
Daventry CP SP 580640 152
Daventry Res SP 580640 152
Deanshanger SP 760400 152
Deanshanger GP SP 772389 152
Deene Lake SP 953925 141
Delapre Abbey SP 760590 152
Desborough SP 804832 141
Ditchford GP SP 943686 153
Draughton Heath SP 771777 141
Drayton Res SP 568648 152
Duddington SK 989009 141
Eaglethorpe SP 075916 142
Earls Barton SP 854638 152
Earls Barton GP SP 868624 152
Eastcote SP 680539 152
Easton Hornstocks TF 015005 141
Easton Maudit SP 889587 152
Ecton SF SP 823620 152
Edgecote Lake SP 507480 151
Elton TL 087939 142
Everdon Stubbs SP 605565 152
Eydon SP 542502 152
Farthinghoe Lake SP 531391 152
Fawsley SP 562568 152
Fawsley Park Lake SP 568567 152
Fermyn Wood SP 962857 141
Finedon SP 920720 141
Fineshade Top Lodge SP 978984 141
Gayton SP 704547 152
Geddington SP 895831 141
Geddington Chase SP 907845 141
Glapthorn Cow Pastures TL 003903 141
Grafton Park Wood SP 935812 141
Great Oakley SP 871855 141
Greatworth SP 551525 152
Gt Billing SP 810629 152
Gt Brington SP 665650 152
Hackleton SP 800553 152
Hardingstone SP 764574 152
Hardwick Meadow SP 832703 141
Hardwick Wood SP 829835 141
Hargrave TL 037706 141
Harlestone SP 705645 152
Harlestone Heath/Firs SP 717640 152
Harlestone Lake SP 701643 152
Harrington SP 773800 141
Harrington Airfield SP 771777 141
Hazelborough Wood/Forest SP 652430 152
Helmdon SP 587437 152
Hemington TL 094846 142
High Wood SP 590548 152
Higham Ferrers SP 960685 153
Hollowell Res SP 687730 141
Village / Site 100km Grid Grid Ref OS Map
Irchester SP 723655 152
Irchester CP SP 915660 152
Kettering SP 868783 141
Kingsthorpe SP 752634 152
Kislingbury SP 697595 152
Lamport SP 758745 141
Lings Wood SP 802638 152
Lilford TL 032837 141
Litchborough SP 633543 152
Loddington SP 815785 141
Long Buckby SP 626676 152
Lower Benefield SP 991888 141
Luddington TL 105837 142
Lutton TL 112878 142
Lyveden SP 981859 141
Maidford SP 609525 152
Maidwell SP 748769 141
Mantles Heath SP 598552 152
Maxey GP TF 130074 142
Middleton Cheney SP 500420 151
Milton Malsor SP 734556 152
Moore Wood TF 115010 142
Moulton SP 783663 152
Naseby SP 689780 141
Naseby Res SP 669777 141
Nassington TL 065962 142
Nene Barrage SP 792601 152
Nether Heyford SP 660585 152
Newbottle Spinney SP 517364 151
Newton Bromswold SP 999659 153
Newton Field Centre SP 884832 141
Northampton SP 756606 152
Norton SP 601636 152
Old Head Wood SP 921823 141
Old Pastures SP 884560 152
Old Stratford SP 779411 152
Old Sulehay Wood TL 054983 142
Oundle TL 040882 141
Overstone SP 808664 152
Overstone Wood SP 814665 152
Peterborough TL 190990 142
Pitsford Res SP 775695 152
Polebrook TL 068872 142
Polebrook Airfield TL 092863 141
Pytchley SP 859746 141
Ransom Road Lake SP 767592 152
Raunds SP 997728 141
Ravensthorpe Res SP 678708 141
Ravenstone Wood SP 849531 152
Ringstead SP 987752 141
Ringstead GP SP 972750 141
Rothwell SP 815810 141
Rushden SP 957667 153
Rushton SP 842829 141
Salcey Forest SP 802512 152
Scaldwell SP 769774 141
Short Wood TL 015912 141
Souther Wood SP 979839 141
Southey Wood TF 109024 142
Southwick Wood TL 025915 141
Spratton SP 716700 141/152
Stamford TF 026072 141
Village / Site 100km Grid Grid Ref OS Map
Stanford Park Lake SP 588791 140
Stanford Res SP 602805 140
Stanion SP 913869 141
Stanion Lane Plantation SP 920872 141
Stanwick SP 979984 141
Stanwick GP SP 970720 141
Stoke Wood SP 802863 141
Stortons GP SP 732600 152
Stowe-Nine-Churches SP 639577 152
Sudborough SP 967821 141
Sulby SP 820660 141
Sulby Res SP 805810 141
Summerleys LNR SP 886637 152
Sywell SP 822672 152
Sywell CP SP 832654 152
Sywell Res SP 832654 152
Sywell Wood SP 828693 152
Tansor GP TL 047924 141
Thenford SP 519417 151
Thornby SP 670750 141
Thorpe Malsor Res SP 825793 141
Thorpe Waterville TL 023816 141
Thrapston SP 998787 141
Thrapston GP TL 001800 141
Titchmarsh TL 025795 141
Titchmarsh Heronry NR TL 008804 141
Towcester SP 692482 152
Twywell Hills and Dales SP 945775 141
Wadenhoe SP 011834 141
Wakerley SP 954994 141
Wakerley Great Wood SP 962981 141
Wansford TL 074995 142
Warkworth SP 488403 151
Weedon SP 628598 152
Weekley Hall Wood SP 871821 141
Weldon SP 927894 141
Welford SP 641804 140
Welford Res SP 648810 140
Wellingborough SP 888679 152
West Haddon SP 630718 140
Westhay Wood SP 991979 141
Weston Favell SP 789619 152
Whiston SP 849606 152
Whitewater Res TF 034032 141
Whittlewood Forest SP 728428 152
Yardley Chase SP 848551 152

Sites of Interest

Country Parks

Barnwell Country Park – Grid ref: TL 035874 (Landranger 141)

Barnwell Country Park

Brigstock Country Park – Grid ref: SP 953850 (Landranger 141)

  • Landscape: Former Sand Quarry. Spoil heaps and diggings make for an undulating landscape. It is adjacent to Fermyn Wood.
  • Habitats: Grassland and dense scrub – through management has a wide variety of habitats including ditches, streams and ponds.
  • Birds: Nightingale (in Fermyn Wood), Turtle Dove, Hawfinch (in winter – numbers are very variable)
  • Dragonflies: A good site to look for dragonflies, Emperor Dragonfly, Four-spotted Chaser, Broad-bodied Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Hairy Dragonfly (possibility at this site)
  • Butterflies: A good site to look for butterflies, 20+, Green Hairstreak, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Brown Argus
  • Flowers: Common Spotted Orchid, Bee Orchid
  • Fungi: St George’s Mushroom
  • Directions: On A6116 between Corby and Thrapston. A sign-posted turning off of the Brigstock bypass
  • Access: Public
  • Parking: Car park
  • Facilities: Information centre and children’s play area

Brixworth Country Park – Grid ref: SP 752693 (Landranger 152)

Brixworth Country Park

Daventry Country Park – Grid ref: SP 580640 (Landranger 152)

Daventry Country Park

Irchester Country Park – Grid ref: SP 915660 (Landranger 152)

  • Landscape: Former Ironstone Quarry. An unusual ridge and furrow effect left by the quarry workings leaves a distinctive area of woodland.
  • Habitats: A large area of predominantly coniferous woodland and a variety of other habitats including grassland and scrub.
  • Fungi: A good range of damp habitats and a good site. Look for Larch Bolete, False Chanterelle, Agaricus bernardii and a selection of waxcaps
  • Directions: The entrance is on the B570 between Little Irchester and Irchester
  • Access: Public
  • Parking: Car park – unfortunately Pay and Display
  • Facilities: Information Centre and children’s play area

Irchester Country Park

Sywell Country Park – Grid ref: SP 832654 (Landranger 152)

Sywell Country Park

Woodland Sites

Badby Wood – Grid ref: SP 565583 (Landranger 152)

Badby Wood

Fermyn Wood – Grid ref: SP 962857 (Landranger 141)

Fineshade Top Lodge / Fineshade Wood – Grid ref: SP 978984 (Landranger 141)

Public access from the car park signposted from the A43 between Corby and Stamford, 2 miles south of Duddington.

Fineshade Wood

Glapthorn Cow Pasture – Grid ref: TL 003903 (Landranger 141)

Glapthorn Cow Pasture

Harlestone Firs – Grid ref: SP 717640 (Landranger 152)

Hazelborough Forest – Grid ref: SP 652430 (Landranger 152)

Hazelborough Forest

Lings Wood – Grid ref: SP 802638 (Landranger 152)

Lings Wood

Salcey Forest – Grid ref: SP 802512 (Landranger 152)

Salcey Forest

Short Wood – Grid ref: TL 015912 (Landranger 141)

Southwick Wood – Grid ref: TL 025915 (Landranger 141)

Southwick Wood

Wakerley Great Wood\Wakerley Wood – Grid ref: SP 962981 (Landranger 141)

Wetland Sites

Hollowell Reservoir – Grid ref: SP 687730 (Landranger 141)

Hollowell Reservoir

Pitsford Reservoir – Grid ref: 780701 (Landranger 141)

Public access to the south-west of the causeway. Permit access to the reserve to the north-east of the causeway – permits from the fishermans Lodge at SE end of the causeway.

Pitsford Reservoir

Ravensthorpe Reservoir – Grid ref: SP 678708 (Landranger 141)

Ravensthorpe Reservoir

Summerleys Local Nature Reserve – Grid ref: SP 885634 (Landranger 152)

Public access from the car park on the Great Doddington to Wollaston road.

Summerleys Local Nature Reserve

Thrapston Gravel Pits\Titchmarsh Nature Reserve – Grid ref: TL 001800 (Landranger 141)

Other Sites

Collyweston Delphs\Collyweston Quarries – Grid ref: 885634 (Landranger 152)

  • Landscape: Former Slate and Limestone Quarry. Spoil heaps and diggings make for an undulating landscape. It is on the top of the slope that is the SE side of the Welland Valley.
  • Habitats: Unimproved limestone grassland with some scrubby areas.
    Managed by the NWT and is a SSSI.
  • Plants: A good site to look for flowers, 200+ including limestone specialists, Orchids, Dyer’s Greenwood in June\July, Autumn Gentian, Knapweed Broomrape
  • Butterflies: 20+, Brown Argus and Chalkhill Blue
  • Fungi: St George’s Mushroom
  • Direction: On A43 south of Stamford
  • Access: Public
  • Parking: In lay-by on the opposite side of A43
  • Facilities: Information board

Birds of Northamptonshire

A selection of the 320 species of Birds to be found in Northamptonshire
Grey Heron
Habitat: All wetlands
Thrapston Gravel Pits
Whooper Swan
Rare Migrant
Habitat: Wetlands
Canada Goose
Very common
Habitat: Wetlands
An introduced species whose numbers
are almost in pest proportions
Tufted Duck
Habitat: Reservoirs, Lakes
and Gravel Pits
Habitat: Reservoirs,
Lakes and Gravel Pits
Habitat: Wetlands
Has breed recently. Migrants and birds moving due to severe weather account for most records
Black-headed Gull
Very common
Habitat: Wetlands
Numbers increase in the winter. Visits most habitats in search of food
Seen in large numbers in winter at the gull roosts at our reservoirs
Turtle Dove
Very Scarce
Habitat: Broad-leaved Woodland
Summer visitor. Numbers have declined significantly in the last 10 years
Brigstock CP if you are lucky
Tawny Owl
Habitat: Woodland
Most vocal in the February and March
Habitat: Variety of habitats
Summer visitor
Large flocks in autumn proir to migration
Habitat: Variety of habitats with low vegetation
Likes gardens
Reed Warbler
Locally common
Habitat: Wetlands
Summer visitor
Pitsford Reservoir, Ditchford GP
Great Tit
Habitat: Woodland
Regularly visits gardens
Blue Tit
Very common
Habitat: Woodland
Also found in a variety of other habitats including gardens and parks
Locally common
Habitat: Broad-leaved Woodland
Salcey Forest
Locally common
Habitat: Woodland
Habitat: Farmland
Nests in large tree-top colonies
In winter found in large crow flocks roaming the countryside
Very common
Habitat: Gardens, parks and farmland

The Birds of Northamptonshire – Full text