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; you will be surprised to find out what is on your doorstep! 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.

  • Help us take nature's pulse by joining the Big Butterfly Count starting Friday 17th July and runs until Sunday 9th August. The Website is now open to download forms, enter data and download the app or see the live map. Its a worthwhile activity for us and our children to learn about nature around them.

Your Guide to the Website

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Spotted by Sue Rabie from Hedon and photographed by Paul Martin at Paull Holme above is a Bath White (or possibly a Eastern Bath White) The first known record of this species in Yorkshire and confirmed by the County Recorder. It has been an exceptional year for new arrivals with several reports of Large Tortoiseshells at Scarborough and Bridlington and Long Tailed Blue at Spurn.


  • 27th July The Woodmeadow Trust at Riccall held it socially distanced Wildlife safari day with a good attendance of 60. Although windy and showery everyone had a enjoyable time with butterfly, mini beast, mammal and reptile walks throughout the day. My Elephant Hawk moths caterpillars helped out during rainy interludes! Lots of Big Butterfly sheets being completed! It will be the first and last event in the meadow for 2020.

  • 21st July After 2 unprecedented sightings of Large Tortoiseshell along the Yorkshire coast this spring we have a new report today along the river Aire at Newfield Bridge Airton near Gargrave by Ken Maylor at SD 9072658049 . It cannot be ratified as Ken even with dropping his fishing rod getting to his phone was not quite quick enough for a photo. However he was able to describe it in great detail. "The butterfly was bright orange which contrasted with the dark marking on the wings but what stood out was the blue and black borders to the wing edges and it was quite stunning, it appeared quite fresh in appearance about 70mm wingspan similar to that of a Red Admiral".

The main distinguishing features is firstly its very clearly a tortoiseshell but then size plus it is rather more orange and the dark basal region of the upper hindwings, brown in the Small, is replaced with the orange in the Large. It is a wandering species commonly in woodland and associated with Elm its foodplant. It is often seen nectaring with Peacock in forest clearings reappearing in spring to nectar on Sallow. The species became extinct in the UK 70 years ago but more sightings have occured this year than in the last 40 mostly along our south and east coast. After the Bath White a few days ago our recorders request you keep a look out for both these species.

Website Updates: Photo Competition launched . AGM postponed to Spring 2021

Welcome to the New Website

It might have a new look bringing together all our social media as a 1 stop shop but we have included as much as possible of the old site so lovingly created and maintained by Jax Westmoreland and we thank her for her many years service. Its a legacy we treasure and we wish her well as Nick Hall takes on the role of webmaster. Our objective with creating the new site was that it should be dynamic with fresh content every time you visit as well visual and interactive. We wish to make our Yorkshire butterflies more accessible with our 'Sites' section with an interactive map and walks. We want to tell you more about what we do and about the 100's of volunteers that help on work parties, recording and transects. There is likely much we have missed and many errors so please do flag them. Coming soon: Where, When and How for finding each of our species with fieldcraft tips along with identification guides, the Top 50 sites to visit in Yorkshire and a guide to our Day flying moths. Please do make suggestions or even a contribution and let me know what you think of the new website. webmaster@yorkshirebutterflies.org.uk