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.

Members Day Sunday 3rd July

After 2 long years of fear of being together we felt there should be an opportunity to bring back together all those people who make a real difference to conserving our natural world. Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire cordially invites you in partnership with the Woodmeadow trust to our fantastic members day as part of 'The Yorkshire Nature Fair' held at Three Hagges Woodmeadow, Escrick.

We have arranged a fabulous day of talks, walks, stands and so much more. There will be an opportunity to listen to some of the UK’s leading naturalists in a seated marquee, including Professor Sir John Lawton CBE who will be opening the event at 10.30am. See the speaker program below.

The fair will be full of opportunities for all ages to see and learn about butterflies, moths, bees, dragonflies, snakes, lizards, pondlife, woodmeadow creation and growing native wildflowers with expert naturalists on our ‘wildlife safaris’ as well as visiting around 18 different nature organisations, including St Nicks, Project Wild CIC, British Dragonfly Society, Yorkshire Mammal Group, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Amphibian and Reptile Group, PLACE, North and East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre, Yorkshire Naturalists Union, Tophill Low Nature Reserve, Lower Ure Conservation Trust, Woodland Trust, RSPB, Yorkshire Rewilding Network, Butterfly Conservation and Woodmeadow Trust,

This is a free event and open to everyone so no need to book unless you want to join one of the walks. There is ample free parking and on-site Tea rooms as well as a pop up cafe.

The meadow wil be at its prime and members and non members are assured a warm welcome at the Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire stand and we look forward to meeting you.

If travelling south on the A19 from York, take the left turn off the A19 after York Timber Products into York Road – you will see a brown sign to Hollicarrs Holiday Park – follow it! After approximately 300m, turn left into Hollicarrs Holiday Park. Drive through the brick gateway and along the driveway.

If travelling north on the A19 towards York, take the right turn just after Riccall village into York Road. You will see a brown sign for Hollicarrs Holiday Park – follow it! After approximately 800m, you will pass Approach Farm on your right. After a further 200m, turn right into Hollicarrs Holiday Park. Drive through the brick gateway and along the driveway

Your Guide to the Website

Menu Headings


First Sightings

First Sightings 2022

DECIDE is calling all Butterfly recorders. They have a new project running this summer exploring ways to provide personalised, relevant feedback to recorders

More info & sign up: https://decide.ceh.ac.uk/app/newsletter


24th June The first Purple hairstreaks were seen by Les Driffield on his wenthillside this evening.

23rd June First Gatekeeper spotted at the canal turn, Oulton, Leeds , 4 days later than the 5 year average. The first Silver-washed Fritillary was seen at Brockadale and its earliest ever record for Yorkshire and 10 days earlier than the average.

23nd June Lots of reports of Humingbird Hawk moths presently reaching way up into the dales. Picture below taken by Rachel Tilburn in her garden at Ingleton

22rd June The European Commission is today proposing the first-ever legislation that explicitly targets the restoration of Europe's nature, to repair the 80% of European habitats that are in poor condition, and to bring back nature to all ecosystems, from forest and agricultural land to marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems. Under this proposal for a Nature Restoration Law, legally binding targets for nature restoration in different ecosystems will apply to every Member State, complementing existing laws. The aim is to cover at least 20% of the EU's land and sea areas by 2030 with nature restoration measures

20th June 21st The first Grayling has been seen at South Gare on Teeside somewhat earlier than normal and the first White-letter hairstreak rather late and 8 days behind average.

15th June Spring 2022 Yorkshire's Butterly trends 'Sneak Peak' Taken from 20 of Yorkshire's monitored sites we have results up till 1st week of June. The comparison is with 2021 and, overall, numbers are about the same, even with the way better weather of 2022. Most spectacular is Holy Blue which sees a 22 fold increase in abundance and from being present on just 1 site last year has returned to 10. The fall in numbers over the last 2 years, confirms we are now in the 'up' part of this insect's cycle with its parasite. Almost as spectacular is Red Admiral recording 9 times more abundant after the wave of migrants in May. It was almost entirely absent last spring. The contrasting and consistent story across most sites is the decline in Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock by approximately half. Peacock abounded in 2020 giving good numbers coming from hibernation last Spring but they fared very badly in reproducing in the very poor weather, so lower numbers went into hibernation last autumn. Amongst the whites, Small White shows a strong increase, and Brimstone has done better. Speckled Wood have also done quite well. Wall, Common Blue, Small Heath and Brown Argus have peaked earlier in the better weather this year and account for most of the improvement at this point in time. More 'Sneak Peaks' will be shared through summer

June 13th The first Small Skipper sighted by Steve Branch at Canklow, Rotherham

June 9th The first Ringlet was seen today on the transect at Brockadale by Les Driffield, very late by 11 days than the average. Small Skippers are yet to appear and are very late this year. Siver Washed fritillary and White letter Hairstreak already on the wing in Northants very early.

7th June The first Marbled White spotted at Brockadale byTony Wilson 2 days earlier than average 29 species have emerged so far this season 16 earlier than average. After a mild winter, Spring has been warmer, dryer and sunnier than normal although a cloudy and sometimes cool May held emergence. It has not been helped by a very cool start to June.