Time to stop messing about. After spending far too long trying to 'do' insects with a simple generalist field guides and an internet search engine, I've finally bitten the bullet and added a bit of weight to the North Downs and beyond library. Pictured above is the answer to my ground beetle questions - a copy of 'The Carabidae of Britain and Ireland' by Martin Luff (with thanks to Josh for the tip off). I have also acquired the full set of John Walter's and Mark Telfer's visual guides to beetles, available here. Hopefully there will be more to come.
Also arriving on the bookshelf was 'Lichens' by Frank Dobson and 'Wasps of Surrey' by David Baldock. I ordered all of the three books mentioned in this post from Subbuteo Books and all three arrived within 48 hours - excellent service.
Now, where can I find a ground beetle....