recommended field guides

harrap's wildflowers by Simon harrap

This brilliant new photographic guide has superb photography throughout, including stunning portraits and close-ups of key features where relevant, and succinct, no-nonsense text.

  This book will help you identify almost any wild flower that you may encounter in Britain and Ireland.

More than 800 carefully selected species are included in the book, . Key features are highlighted in tinted boxes throughout the book, and details of confusion species and look-alikes are given where relevant.

Accurate colour maps based on the national plant-mapping scheme are provided for almost every species. This handy guide is an essential tool for anyone interested in our wild flowers.

collins bird guide by lars svensson


The ultimate reference book for bird enthusiasts – now in its second edition.

With expanded text and additional colour illustrations, the second edition of the hugely successful Collins Bird Guide is a must for every birdwatcher.

The book provides all the information needed to identify any species at any time of the year, covering size, habitat, range, identification and voice.

Accompanying every species entry is a distribution map and illustrations showing the species in all the major plumages (male, female, immature, in flight, at rest, feeding: whatever is important).

insects of britain and ireland by paul brock

insects brook

This new and expanded edition of A Comprehensive Guide to Insects of Britain and Ireland is the most complete guide to insects ever published. It now has 544 pages and covers over 2,300 species with updated maps & over 2,900 colour photographs throughout. It also has fully comprehensive sections on all insect groups, including beetles (108 pages), flies (100 pages), ants, bees & wasps (86 pages).

The main aim of this field guide is to provide clear photographs of a wide range of insects to assist in identification of the majority of insects likely to be encountered, as well as aid conservation and encourage new recorders. The concise text gives information on behaviour as well as their present-day conservation status.

RSPB handbook of British birds, Peter Holden and Richard gregory

The bestselling RSPB Handbook of British Birds is the most comprehensive reference for birdwatchers of all levels of interest and experience. Now in its fifth edition, it remains the most accessible field guide to more than 300 bird species likely to be encountered in Britain and Ireland. Alongside artworks depicting all common plumages, the detailed text describes each bird’s behaviour, habitat, voice, breeding biology, longevity and seasonal movements, as well as other useful information. The guide also includes UK population trends and up-to-date distribution maps. Completely revised and updated, this fifth edition also features new artwork and comparison spreads, additional rarities and the most recent taxonomic order, as well as each species’ conservation status, a summary of the threats UK species are currently facing and details of what conservationists are doing to help.

fsc fold out charts

fsc chart

The Field Studies Council has been demystifying Britain’s natural environment for 70 years and its publications have always played a vital part.

Three generations of wildlife enthusiasts and conservation professionals have learned about the UK’s plants and animals on Field Studies Council courses, and honed their skills with Field Studies Council publications.

There are now more than 70 of the handy fold-out charts, and a growing series of AIDGAP Guides – intended to help identify difficult groups of plants and animals and to be suitable for non-specialists. The catalogue is complemented by more specialised titles such as the Royal Entomological Society Handbooks on British insects, and wildlife distribution atlases produced for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology’s Biological Records Centre.