Northamptonshire Biodiversity Records Centre

Look out for Ponds!

Common frog - Rana temporaria
Common frog - Rana temporaria

Thank you for taking part in NBRC's LOOK OUT FOR… PONDS! SURVEY. Please make sure you record legally and safely.

We are looking for submissions of all known pond locations.  Currently this is missing information in Northamptonshire. With your help we aim to gain current information about the distribution, coverage and condition of Northamptonshire’ s ponds. Thanks to the Environment Agency for their support in our development of this, our first, habitat based ‘Look out for…’ survey, we are looking for your data collection submissions via both paper form and/or use of mobile survey tools.

Ponds are a supporting habitat for a wide variety of species, both as a home, a resource and migratory pathway. By enhancing the available knowledge through this survey we inform decision making at landscape scale for species protection.

Any ponds, big or small, public, private, full or dry, make a difference. Help us add any pond locations in the county you know. All data is treated as a biological recording and handled as per our privacy policy.

Find our NBRC ‘Look out for…Ponds’ mobile survey on epicollect5 and/or download our paper form survey to take out in the field.

NBRC Pond Hunt paper survey form

NBRC Pond Survey Instructions

NBRC Moblie Survey

Pond Survey Risk Assessment


To pin-point current pond distribution in Northamptonshire, you can submit the basic ‘point’ location data we need as the centre of the pond marked on a (OS or google) map, its name (if you know it), with at least a 6 figure grid reference along with any information you can supply about the pond and your details as the recorder.  For pond condition, information on the surrounding habitat, pond shade, and species that use or live in the locale of the pond would give us important supplementary detail that can aid monitoring of these sites. Our mobile epicollect survey form is the easiest way to submit this information in the field, using your phone GPS to provide accurate location information.  You can also download and use our paper forms as a framework for your pond survey, paper submissions can be emailed to us at

You can additionally submit ‘polygon’ boundary data showing both the centre point and the extent of the pond area at its fullest.  Basic information supplied should include a location description, your name (as the recorder), a sketch of the pond (on an OS map preferably), a photo (of the pond boundary) and the date of your pond recording (field-based sighting). For accurate boundary ‘polygon’ information, to show the extent of the pond, you can use pen and paper on an OS map, supply a track file from your own GPS unit or if used to QGIS you can contact us for our QField project to use on your mobile phone.

Please use a combination of the tools as appropriate, being careful to use exactly the same naming structure (lower case and full words are preferred) and an identifier in the comments to match up your submissions (e.g. (inits)_(date)_001).

There is a wealth of support for identification of the species you may find, try the following links to get you started:

  • Book in to use our WILDside Recorder Library (Lings House, Billing, Lings, Northampton) to use our microscopes and field keys to investigate your specimen by emailing
  • Join our social media community (@_Northants_BRC & WILDside Recording Community) who are always very willing to support with tips for correct identification
  • Sign up to Wildlife Trust BCN training courses to learn from the experts
  • Use DEFRA’s Non-Native Species identification general guide and individual sheets to help report the invasive species
  • Take your pond dipping to the next level with the Waterbugs Identification Guide by Kevin Rowley, Northamptonshire Water Bugs County Recorder
  • Gotten to grips with your grapnel? Bring out the Freshwater Plants Guide by Josh Hellon, Monitoring and Research Manager for the Wildlife Trust  Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire.  The Botanical Society of the British Isles also have a wealth of tools to help with a whole range of plant ID
  • New to newts?* You can find plenty of amphibian and reptile identification resources online from the Freshwater Habitat Trust, ARG Trust and Froglife.  In particular, the Habitat Suitability Index for Great Crested Newt guidance by ARG-UK can be used in conjunction with this survey.  Whilst directly surveying for great crested newts is prohibited, surveying habitats for their suitability for the species is not.


Great Crested newts (GCN) should only be handled by individuals with a current licence

Great crested newt (GCN) and their breeding sites or resting places are protected under Regulation 41 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.  It is an offence for anyone intentionally to kill, injure or disturb GCN without a licence.  It is also an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place used by GCN for shelter.