Reptiles and amphibians
Fineshade is a very important location for reptiles, in particular Adders. There are also various types of newts in the ponds, including the locally scarce Palmate Newt and, of course, the Great Crested Newt.
In fact the reptiles and amphibians are so important we believe the wood should be a Site of Special Scientific Interest to protect them and their habitat.
The Adder has received particular attention during the Back from the Brink Project, with yearly surveys to determine its distribution through the wood and to try to establish likely population size.
These 4 images of Adders at Fineshade were taken by Jandy Photography of Stamford.
Unlike most snakes, Adders do not lay eggs but give birth to tiny live young, known as neonates. At the beginning of September 2020 Kevin Clarke saw three neonates in the southern part of Fineshade and was able to take the photo on the left. Notice the fly just above which gives an indication of just how small the Adder was.
"This neonate Adder was just at the edge of the long grass, where it had been mown. Luckily I noticed it from 5 yards away so didn’t disturb it. It looked as if the mother had only just passed by here very recently giving birth to her young.
The remains of the amniotic sac (birthing sac) are in the photo to the right. Young Adders are born in this sac and they then wriggle free from it. The young Adders then have to immediately fend for themselves."
Sometimes adders are seen crossing the hard tracks within the wood The large Adder on the right was slowly crossing the forest track near the proposed Forest Holidays development in April 2014.
They are very vulnerable when out in the open and below you can see remains of a smaller Adder that had been run over by one of the few vehicles or many cycles that use the track.
Slow worms occur throughout Fineshade in good numbers. The first photo ifsby Kevin Clarke. This other one was taken in the garden of one of the houses at Top Lodge by Lynda Peirce
These also occur throughout the woodland and are frequently seen basking in sunny spots
The two pictures were taken in Fineshade by Jandy Photography and Kevin Clarke
Three pictures of Grass Snakes by Bob Bullock
Palmate Newt on the left, Great Crested on the right.
Photos: Jeff Blincow
Please click here for a report of Palmate Newts in April 2016.
Photos by John Isherwood and Bob Bullock