Northamptonshire is a county in the East Midlands of England. 236,700 hectares (914 sq mi) and a population estimated in mid-2015 at 723,000. It is bordered by Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. It was governed by Northamptonshire County Council and seven district and borough councils, Corby, Daventry, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire and Wellingborough until April 2021 when North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire unitary authorities were formed. The county flower is the cowslip.It has an area of
A ridge of low Jurassic hills runs through the county, separating the basins of the Welland and Nene rivers. The county has good communications as it is crossed by two main railway lines and the M1 motorway, and it has many small industrial centres rather than large conurbations. The main architectural feature is its country houses and mansions.
As of May 2017, there are 18 local nature reserves in Northamptonshire, 72.7 hectares (180 acres), which has nationally important numbers of goosanders, wigeons and gadwalls in winter. The smallest is Great Oakley Meadow, which has prominent surviving ridge and furrow from the medieval ploughing system.and there is public access to all sites. Twelve are managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, and two are also Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar internationally important wetland sites, and Special Protection Areas under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds. The largest site is Titchmarsh Nature Reserve at
|Barnes Meadow||29.4 hectares (73 acres)|| Northampton ||West Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||The site includes a stretch of the River Nene, meadows and a redundant arm of the river. There are many dragonflies including brown hawkers, and a large population of grass snakes. Birds include grey herons, kingfishers and great crested grebes.|
|Crowfields Common||8.7 hectares (21 acres)|| Moulton ||West Northamptonshire||Map||Details||The site is grassland which has surviving medieval ridge and furrow. There are also mature trees and hedgerows, and a flower meadow.|
|Daventry Country Park||66.0 hectares (163 acres)|| Daventry ||West Northamptonshire||Map||Details||The park centres on Daventry Reservoir, which feeds the Grand Union Canal, and there are also meadows and crack willow woodland. Birds include yellowhammers, lesser whitethroats, dunnocks and song thrushes.|
|Farthinghoe||3.7 hectares (9.1 acres)|| Farthinghoe ||West Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||This former landfill site has grassland, ponds and woodland. Flowers include lady's bedstraw and snake's-head fritillary. There are fauna such as marbled white and green-veined white butterflies, and pipistrelle and noctule bats.|
|Glamis Meadow and Wood||9.5 hectares (23 acres)|| Wellingborough ||North Northamptonshire||Map||Details||A stream runs through this site, which has woodland and grassland. Facilities include a cycle path, seating and information boards.|
|Great Oakley Meadow||1.9 hectares (4.7 acres)|| Great Oakley ||North Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||The prominent medieval ridge and furrow at the southern end of the site displays the ancient field system of Great Oakley. The dry ridges have diverse flora including cowslip, knapweed and quaking-grass. The furrows are poorer in species, while the northern end, which borders Harpers Brook, has plants characteristic of wet ground, such as cuckooflower and hairy sedge.|
|Greens Norton Pocket Park||2.0 hectares (4.9 acres)|| Greens Norton ||West Northamptonshire||Map||Details||This former brick pit has a pond, wetland, grassland and woods. There are picnic tables and benches. Fauna include barn owls, grass snakes, great crested newts and green woodpeckers.|
|Hills and Holes||8.3 hectares (21 acres)|| Northampton ||West Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||This is a disused quarry which was operated during an unknown period between the Middle Ages and the late eighteenth century. It has grassed ridges and hollows, some of them steeply sloping. There are a variety of habitats including limestone grassland.|
|Kinewell Lake||35.4 hectares (87 acres)|| Ringstead ||North Northamptonshire||Ramsar, SPA, SSSI||Map||Details||The lake is a former gravel pit next to the River Nene. Birds include shovellers, great crested grebes and kingfishers. There are also otters, bats and long-horned beetles.|
|King's Wood||31.7 hectares (78 acres)|| Corby ||North Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||More than 250 plant species have been recorded at this remnant of the Royal Forest of Rockingham, including ones characteristic of ancient woods such as yellow archangel and wood anemone. There are diverse invertebrates such as green-veined white butterflies and common blue damselflies.|
|Kingsthorpe||14.4 hectares (36 acres)|| Northampton ||West Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||This site on a tributary of the River Nene is often flooded in the winter. There are hedges and ponds, together with areas of scrub. Birds include green woodpeckers, kestrels and snipe.|
|Lings Wood||20.1 hectares (50 acres)|| Northampton ||West Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||Frogs, newts, damselflies and dragonflies breed in this nature reserve, which has woodland, ponds, scrub and grassland. There are plantations of sweet chestnut and douglas fir, but in some areas native woodland is regenerating naturally.|
|Scrub Field||5.1 hectares (13 acres)|| Northampton ||West Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||This meadow has a diverse selection of wild flowers, including field scabious and knapweed in higher areas, and bird's-foot trefoil and yellow rattle lower down.|
|Storton's Pit||21.9 hectares (54 acres)|| Northampton ||West Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||This site on the bank of the River Nene has old gravel pits, meadow and fen ditch. Around 350 invertebrate species have been recorded, including some which are rare. Water birds include snipe, teal, tufted duck and the uncommon water rail.|
|Summer Leys||47.7 hectares (118 acres)|| Wollaston ||North Northamptonshire||Ramsar, SPA SSSI, WTBCN||Map||Details||This wetland site has flooded gravel pits with bird hides, grassland, hedges and water meadows. Breeding birds include golden plovers, ringed plovers and common terns. There are butterflies such as common blues and the uncommon brown argus.|
|Tailby Meadow||4.9 hectares (12 acres)|| Desborough ||North Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||Artificial fertilisers have never been used on this hay meadow, and it has not been ploughed for several hundred years. There are fifteen species of grass and diverse wild flowers, including black knapweed, lady's bedstraw and lady's smock, which is a food source for the orange tip butterfly.|
|Tiffield Pocket Park||2.6 hectares (6.4 acres)|| Tiffield ||West Northamptonshire||Map||Details||This one-kilometre (0.6-mile) long site is a footpath along a former railway line. The path is lined with trees and shrubs of blackthorn, hawthorn, crab-apple and ash, and a balancing pond next to the path has been restored, increasing biodiversity.|
|Titchmarsh||72.7 hectares (180 acres)|| Thrapston ||North Northamptonshire||WTBCN||Map||Details||The River Nene runs through this site, which also has large areas of open water and grassland. There are nationally important numbers of goosanders, wigeons and gadwalls in winter, and banded demoiselle damselflies nest on nettles along the river bank.|
The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (WTBCN) is a registered charity which manages 126 nature reserves covering 3,945 hectares. It has over 35,000 members, and 95% of people in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire live within five miles of a reserve. In the year to 31 March 2016 it employed 105 people and had an income of £5.1 million. It aims to conserve wildlife, inspire people to take action for wildlife, offer advice and share knowledge. The WTBCN is one of 36 wildlife trusts covering England, and 46 covering the whole of the United Kingdom.
Woodston Ponds is an 8.9 hectare Local Nature Reserve between the River Nene and the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
Summer Leys is a local nature reserve at Wollaston in the Upper Nene Valley, in Northamptonshire, England. It is owned by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
Mill Crook is a 5.9 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest east of Towcester in Northamptonshire. Mill Crook and Grafton Regis Meadow are a 7.9 hectare nature reserve managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits is a 1,382.4 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in a chain of flooded gravel pits along 35 kilometres of the valley of the River Nene between Northampton and Thorpe Waterville in Northamptonshire. It is a Ramsar wetland site of international importance, a Special Protection Area under the European Communities Birds Directive and part of the Nene Valley Nature Improvement Area. It is also part of the River Nene Regional Park. Two areas are managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, Summer Leys and Titchmarsh Nature Reserve.
Farthinghoe Nature Reserve is a 3.7 hectare Local Nature Reserve north-west of Brackley in Northamptonshire. It is owned by Northamptonshire County Council and managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
Kingsthorpe Meadow is a 14.4 hectare Local Nature Reserve in Northampton. It is owned by Northampton Borough Council and managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
Titchmarsh Nature Reserve is a 72.7 hectare Local Nature Reserve north of Thrapston in North Northamptonshire. It is owned and managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. It is part of the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Ditchford Lakes and Meadows is a 31.1 hectare nature reserve Northamptonshire. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. It is part of the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits Site of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar wetland site of international importance, and Special Protection Area under the European Communities Birds Directive.
Great Oakley Meadow is a 1.9 hectare Local Nature Reserve in Great Oakley, on the southern outskirts of Corby in Northamptonshire. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
Storton's Pits is a 21.9 hectare Local Nature Reserve in Northampton. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
Higham Ferrers Pits is a 10 hectare nature reserve Northamptonshire. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. It is part of the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits Site of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar internationally important wetland site and Special Protection Area under the EC Birds Directive.
Wilson's Pits is a 32 hectare nature reserve west of Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. It is part of the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits Site of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar internationally important wetland site and Special Protection Area under the EC Birds Directive.
Barnes Meadow is a 29.4 hectare Local Nature Reserve in Northampton. An area of 20 hectares is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
Bradlaugh Fields is a 60 hectare open space in Northampton. The site is a former golf course. In 1987 it was proposed to build housing on the site, but after a campaign by local residents it was acquired by Northampton Borough Council and opened as a wildlife park in 1998. It was named after Charles Bradlaugh, a leading nineteenth century radical and atheist who was MP for Northampton. Three fields with a total area of 17.5 hectares are managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire as a nature reserve also called Bradlaugh Fields. Hills and Holes is at the southern end and two adjoining meadows, Scrub Field and Quarry Field, are at the northern end. Hills and Holes is an 8.3 hectare Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and Scrub Field is a 5.1 hectare LNR.