Posted: 22/08/2014 at 10:43
We're on heavy clay with a generous helping of big rocks. Most of our digging involves a mattock (or even a pickaxe for the very bad bits). For digging over big areas I use mattock to break it up and then fork or spade to turn into something manageable. My mattock is quite a small one (I'm a wimp) but made from very heavy-duty material so it gets through anything. I've once broken the shaft, but that is really easy to replace.
After ten years of adding compost and leafmould, though, I now have quite a few bits of garden with lovely soil that is easy-peasy to use fork and spade on.
I'd say get a really good mattock from a country stores (countrywide are good, or mole valley), the sort that you can get replacement handles for!