A mixture of woodland and grassland in this old ironstone quarry

The name 'The Plens' dates from the 19th century and probably means that the land at that time was flat and ordinary. However, quarrying and a railway line have produced a more varied topography and wildlife habitat. Remains of a railway track can still be seen along the bottom of the cutting, and near the entrance is a large concrete block which formed a loading bay.

The site has a range of different habitats at different stages of succession: grassland, tall herbs, hawthorn scrub, hedges and woodland. A lovely mix of plants grow on the site from the uncommon crimson-flowered grass vetchling to the very common hedge woundwort, with its strong-smelling leaves once used for healing. Grassland species such as knapweeds, vetches and trefoils provide nectar for the large number of insect species which breed here. Elusive orchids and moschatel have been found on the site and badgers, rabbits and voles all live in the undergrowth. Numerous birds use the site with warblers nesting in the scrub.

The Plens reserve map

 

The map below is for indication purposes only and does not show the Wildlife Trusts definitive land boundary.

Nearby nature reserves

Tailby Meadow
1 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Rothwell Gullet
1 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Stoke Wood End Quarter
1 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire

Nature reserve map

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2012. For indicative purposes does not show exact boundaries.

Reserve information

Location
On the edge of
Desborough
Northamptonshire
Map reference
SP 809 839
Best time to visit
May - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
5.00 hectares
Walking information
Steep steps and narrow paths; some muddy areas
Parking
Park in side road
Dogs
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
no
Reserve manager
Tel: 01604 405285
northamptonshire@wildlifebcn.org

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Factsheets and guides for your visit