Common spotted orchid

Common spotted orchid - Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

The Plens

Mix of woodland and grassland in an old ironstone quarry

Location

On the edge of
Desborough
Northamptonshire

OS Map Reference

SP 809 839
A static map of The Plens

Know before you go

Size
5 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

Park in side road

Grazing animals

No

Walking trails

Steep steps and narrow paths; some muddy areas

Access

Not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

May to August

About the reserve

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.   

Download the Plens Reserve leaflet.

Contact us

Contact number: 01604 405285

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