Common  YWT


Site Details

Recorders:  Claire Burton, Pauline Storie, Sam Watson, David Firth, Jill Clarke, Mary Ratcliffe, Andrew Noble, Christine Albone     Distance: 2920m       Walk Time 1-1.25 hr

This is a mosaic of habitats on this former rubbish tip, and railway marshalling yard,  which is now a flourishing wildlife rich brownfield site.  Open mostly dry grasslands provide a real chance of seeing green woodpecker and also hear them yaffle. Early summer brings the meadow areas alive with common spotted orchids and viper's bugloss.  Habitats range from wetland and wildflower meadows to mature woodland. 


Section 1 from the entrance goes through mature woodland with many overhanging Sallow and Grey Willow  and Speckled Wood are seen  along with Comma . At S2 you enter a  dry grassy area  and is a favourite place to find Common Blue, Small Heath, Small Copper and the Brown Argus along with Meadow Brown . S3 is a fenced off  small meadow to reduce the effects of Rabbit on this the old railway sidings  S3 is similar to S2  although favoured more so by Ringlets being longer grasses.  S4 re-joins the main path and damp area where Orange Tip are seen. S6 has a variety of habitat in a loop and then at S7 enters woodland rides  and a favourite with the  Green Viened Whites,  Vanessids,  Orange Tips, Comma, and  Holly Blues.  S8  is a woodland ride with Ringlets  and S9  is a hedgerow.

Section results are shown opposite:

Results 2022

County wide 2023 results reflect  the 2022 and  2023 spring drought with Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock nearly halved for the second year against their 5 year average. Red Admiral arrived in force in July and took advantage of soft nettle growth of the rains and had their best year ever. Drought sensitive species on thin soils were badly hit,  particularly Dark -green Fritillary and Northern Brown Argus but also Ringlet, Green-viened White and Small Heath.  Less drought affected species along with the hottest June on record built even more on gains last year leading to Comma, Brimstone, Holly Blue and most Browns  having a fantastic year reaching all time highs. A increase of 9% overall was mostly due to sheer numbers of Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers ment 2023 nearly pipped 2014 as best year in modern times.  Most noticeable was the large differeces between mositure retaining mineral soils of the valleys and thin, dry limestone or sandy soils. A large number of damp grassland, hedgerow and woodland  dominated sites benefitted hugely with 3 sites seeing more than 50% increase . A smaller number of thin, chalky, sandy or craggy sites did badly some down up to 25%.

Barlow results pretty much reflect the county picture  with Red Admiral setting a new site record. Comma and  Gatekeeper alos did very  for teh second year. All the whites did poorly apart from Brimstone than boomed universally, Overall numbers were only down a tad so not bad for a brownfield site which has both wet and dry areas.  Biggest losers were Orange Tip and Common Blue while Cransebill Brown Argus, as elsewhere, had a great year. 

Transect reports 2020

Results 2022

A rather disappointing year 5% down on th 5 year average with only Brimstone and Green Viened white up  and the rest of the whites down although this is following county trend . However Dingy Skipper made a spectacular return and has been doing well in a few locations where Birds foot trefoil flourishs, All the blues were  down but  Holy Blue stands out as on the majority of sites are way up.  Common Blue in particular  had another really bad year and  the trend since since 2019 has been unusually rapidly downwards  which could indicate site conditions.  All the Vanessids were  well down and, unusually, so was Comma but less so than the others down 15%.  In contrast Small Torts  were only an eighth of their 2021 boom count.  Speckled woods who were almost universally up barely held  ground. As with county trends all the browns did well particularly the Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown having record years.  Only Small Heath fell back as on most sites.  The real reason for the fall in numbers  overall is being woodlands  contains a large population of Vannessids which did particularly badly as they  did not produce a second generation, partly due to the heat but also due to poor nettle quality and higher than normal parasite  (Sturmia Tachinid Fly) It was simply a perfect storm! 

Results 2021

2021 was a very poor year for almost all species. Particularly bad were Large White, Comma and Speckled Wood. In line with other transects Small Tortoiseshell had a boom year and Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown had good years.  Unlike most other transects where Small Heath boomed here it had a poor year. 

Results 2020

Numbers are a little down after the previous two excellant years.  The drought of early spring 2020 may be partly responsible for some of the losses.  In particular a dramatic drop in Ringlet which favours damper longer grass or shade along with Green veined white which was also well down. Gatekeeper was similarly hit along with Small Copper. The excpetional was Brown Argus  and Small tortoisesheel had a bumper year as it did on many of our transects.