Welcome to the Yorkshire Branch of Butterfly Conservation

Butterflies are not only beautiful and fascinating creatures but are also highly responsive to the environment. David Attenborough described them as 'A thermometer of the health of our natural world' Almost every species of butterfly is in decline and a quarter are facing extinction. We have lost more than 97% of our traditional meadows and woodland in recent times so it is crucial we raise awareness about the threats facing our butterflies, moths, their habitats and our natural environment. Yorkshire Branch work in partnership with land owners, local authorities, conservation bodies, businesses and the local community to achieve this.

Here in Yorkshire the Duke of Burgundy and Pearl Bordered Fritillary are particularly vulnerable due to habitat loss and increasingly susceptible to extinction. Yorkshire also has the only remaining colony of the Dark Bordered Beauty Moth in England, on Strensall Common and is on the brink of extinction.

Become a member today and help us save butterflies, moths and their habitats. There are many rewarding roles volunteering in recording and conservation just take a look at our Branch leaflet HERE . We have a real challenge when 60% of children in the UK have never seen a Peacock butterfly according to a YouGov Survey and 78% of parents are concerned that children don’t spend enough time interacting with nature. Founded in 1981 Yorkshire branch wil be 40 years old this year and has more than 1800 members.


Fordon Chalk Banks

Conservation Work Party: nr. Filey

10.00am- 3.00 pm Please Book below

More details HERE

Sunday December 12th 2021 Book HERE

( More dates to follow soon)

Your Guide to the Website

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Work commences on a new site in the Tabular Hills

For around 6 years we have been trying to get permission to do some scrub clearance on an old Quarry site in the Hackness area, near Scarborough. The site holds many of our Butterfly species, from Silver Washed Fritillary, Marbled White, Brown Argus, and White Letter Hairstreak, to name a few Its also a special site for our local Flora. Two of our members at Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire, Ian and Pauline Popley have done all the spade work at the site, jointly recording everything via transects and then getting the permission for a team to start the much needed work at the site Pauline is not in the best of health and Ian spends his days looking out for Pauline , they are so missed on the work party days. We are doing the work with the Carstairs Trust , who are first class to work with and we hope this will lead to a closer relationship with the trust We are always on the lookout for helpers at this amazing site photo show just a tiny area that we have cleared, the Hawthorn and Blackthorn scrub is so thick Top is before and bottom after I will finish off by saying from all of us that are involved with nature, WE JUST WISH.


2nd December DEFRA launch of the Basic Payment Scheme as a major milestone in the development of England’s new agricultural policy firing the starting gun towards a more sustainable and resilient farming sector” In this first part farmers will receive payments for improving and conserving soils and grasslands from next year.

New subsidies were promised for farmers providing “public goods” such as healthy soil and improvements to biodiversity after Brexit. The UK’s soil organic matter is estimated to have fallen by 50% within the past 60 years, according to Future Food Solutions with Minister warning Farmers they might only have 30 harvest left in their soils. So the first part of this sol initiative is to minimise the time fields are left bare without green cover, a primary cause of carbon and soil wash off and pollution. All entrants have to provide analysis of the carbon content of soils at field scale and produce a plan for improvement. Hill farms are encouraged to look at what other public goods they could provide. Payments increase for more ambitious targeting including green manure etc. Part 2 and 3 of the scheme will follow in the next two years, which will see farmers receiving payment for activities like water stewardship, hedgerow improvement, tree planting and reducing livestock farming. Biodiversity will follow in 2024 and we certainly hope Butterflies and pollinator counts which feature prominently as metrics for additional public goods farmers can provide. Farmers have voiced disappointment, as many will likely see their basic payments reduced by between 5% and 25% from 2022 as a result of the changes. It is hoped that this will push those large farms facing the steepest cuts to urgently increase sustainability ambitions and actions. The general response from the farming sector is cautiously optimistic but there is a great deal more to follow.

27th November The Red list of Butterfly species species has been updated High Brown Fritillary and Large Blue, which move to Endangered and Near Threatened respectively. Duke of Burgundy and Pearl-bordered Fritillary have also been assessed at lower risk this time, while remaining on the Red List, both moving from the Endangered category to Vulnerable. Other species have moved in the opposite direction. Large Heath and Grayling have moved from Vulnerable to Endangered, reflecting increased extinction risk for these butterflies. In addition, several species that were not deemed at risk in the 2010 assessment are now included in the Red List, such as Swallowtail, Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Heath, Adonis Blue and Chalk Hill Blue, which have all moved from Near Threatened to Vulnerable, and Wall, which has moved from Near Threatened to Endangered.

24th November Following on from the enormous success of his Micro-moth Field Tips published in 2017 and by popular demand, Ben Smart has compiled a second volume to help to identify the early signs of micro-moths in and around the north-west of England. Designed as being complimentary to the first volume, the book has an introduction to the early stages of each family of micro-moths as well as many images of leaf-mines. The bulk of the book is again set out as a chronological guide of species to search out in each month of the year with images of each stage in the moth’s life-cycle. At the end of the book, there’s a comprehensive species and plant index that covers both volumes. Though based around Ben’s locale, the guide is relevant country-wide and another essential guide for moth enthusiasts.

The Lancashire & Cheshire Fauna Society, in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation have sponsored the publication of this book. It is slightly larger than volume 1 covering 200 species over 238 pages. It is full of excellent images and has a £18 selling price. The expected publication date of mid-December, just in time for Christmas. As this is a joint publication with The Lancashire & Cheshire Fauna Society members of the Fauna Society or Butterfly Conservation can get this book directly from us at the special pre-publication rate of £14 + £2.20 postage and packing, a saving of £4. Offer expires on 12th December

To reserve your copy, email mmfieldtips@butterfly-conservation.org with your name, postal address, preferred method of payment (we prefer bank transfer but can take cheques and card payments over the phone). You will a recieve a reply with a code and details of how to pay.

16th November An antidote if you are suffering seasonal affective disorder or just post COP26 hopelessness, watch BBC Butterfly Moments HERE

Butterfly Conservation Strategy

We cannot do this alone. Please join us and help build a world where butterflies and moths thrive and can be enjoyed by everyone, forever.

Butterfly Conservation chooses to be a leader in the fight for our natural world. To do that we need to build on our successes and be even more effective, to focus our resources to have a greater impact. We must build stronger collaborations, be part of nature’s recovery at a larger scale, and broaden our reach to ensure that everyone has access to and can enjoy the wonders of butterflies and moths. Our new strategy sets out three key goals to drive forward our work, making a pledge for the impact we will make on threatened species, doubling our impact on landscape restoration and involving people in transforming spaces for butterflies and moths

  1. Halve the number of the UK’s threatened species of butterflies and moths.

  2. Improve the condition of 100 of the most important landscapes for butterflies and moths

  3. Transform 100,000 wild spaces in the UK for people, butterflies and moths

Calling all butterfly recorders: The DECIDE Project needs your help

PLEASE Give it a go: Send feedback: Lets improve the next version together

This interesting citizen science project is developing a tool for recorders to use to find out where biological records are needed most to improve species distribution models. In turn this will enable data users such as land managers, planners and policy makers to make better decisions. The tool has been co-created with the recording community. The DECIDE team would really appreciate it if you give your feedback. Try it out : https://decide.ceh.ac.uk/info/decide_info as they develop it further.

The map opposite is a typical screen grab of what it displays . Areas where the model is least confident and there are few records are shown as yellow shading while areas where it is more certain are shown as blue. As you can see in this area of NE Leeds quite a number of areas have been highlighted deep yellow. If you press 'Get suggestions' it drops markers . In choosing these locations it also take account public access and footpaths which are also displayed as we don't want you to trespass! If you click a marker it gives you info about habitats at that location and the models prediction. Although some points might be just another cornfield others are uncertain and all can help remove uncertainty.

Introducing our New Publications

The 2020 Annual Report is now available to members and your password will be emailed

The Yorkshire Branch Leaflet gives you an introduction to the work of the branch, the resources we can offer online and in print.

Yorkshire Branch Butterfly Conservation.pdf

The Yorkshire ID Pocket Guide is perfect to slip in your pocket when you out and about. Mail ann.davis@yorkshirebutterflies.org.uk for your printed copy

Butterfly_Yorkshire_Book_V2[1] (1).pdf