Bishop Monkton 

Railway  YWT


Site Details

Recorders: Anthony Garnett, Bob Upton, Caroline Page      Distance: 600m      Walk Time:  30- 40mins

Just west of the village . Dry semi unimproved rather shaded  grassland of the old railway bed surrounded by high hedging and clumps of nettles and willowherb and a few maturing trees. The cutting is through the magnesian limestone and the  sides are  closing with tree growth. It is set amongst intensive arable agriculture including Maize and cereals .


The transect covers the open area north of the Road S1 and then crosses the road and south following the railway bed to S5 and then back again on a similar route to the starting point S1.  

S2 seems to contain the best of the grassland species, while S5-6 appears to be rather shady

Results : 2023  Very Good considering...

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%.

Bishop Monkton s followed the county pattern with Gatekeeper, Comma, Holly Blue and Brimstone really booming doubling up on any previous good year even so the lack of whites and poor showing of the other Vanessids meant numbers were a tad down although Peacock showed the first signs of recovery. As at  similar sites  Small Skipper showed a good increase

Transect reports 2020

Results : 2022

Another poor year down  a fifth.  Small Skipper bucked the trend with an increase but as with the majority of sites Large Skipper was well down. Brimstone  was seen for first time since 2017 and  has seen an increase in general. Whites bucked the trend in being up while over teh county they were down but with a big intersite variation.  In cntrast Orange tip not so good  here while on the  majority of sites was up. As with many sites Brown Argus returned in force to many sites after a absence  and Holy Blue had an exceptional year exactly in line with trends elsewhere. Small Copper down as was this year's  county pattern. Red Admiral was well up  as elsewhere but  Small Torts and Peacock were less than half  which is the pattern on most sites. Comma was up  which is on trend with the county. Speckled Wood although up on last year was down against 5 y Average while most sites exceeded the average strongly. Gatekeeper had a very strong showing throughout the county as it did here.  Meadow Brown and  Ringet  were down while on most sites they were slightly and consistantly up.  

Overall the site follows county trends apart from the Whites and Browns.

Results : 2021

A rather poor year compared to the recent past but inline with earlier years. 

Only Large White had a exceptional year possibly from surrounding crops.  

The Golden  Skippers had a particularly  poor year 

All the Vanessids were very poor as elsewhere however  Small Tortoiseshell was down only slightly and the best of the bunch  while on  most sites it has continued  to boom as it did last year.

Wall Brown, Gatekeeper  and Holy Blue absent this year


Results : 2020

There are no big changes just a small decrease in 2020 with numbers fairly stable year on year recently.  In this  somewaht shaded grassland  Ringlet and  the Whites are predominant and showed increases.  Peacock numbers have considerable variation with a boom in 2019. Large Skipper had a poorer year.  Small Tortoiseshell  was highlight for 2020 seems to be on a boom after a rise  in recent years.  The occasional visitor highlights  were  Wall Brown,  Common Blue and Small Copper . Migrant Painted Lady was absent and Red Admirals well down.