Recorders: Kerry Morrison, Ruth Rymer and Amelia Mcnair Distance: 674m Walk Time: 35mins
A disused Magnesian Limestone quarry that supports a mix of limestone grassland, scrub and broadleaved woodland with a rich calcareous flora on a very small site. There is a typically rich selection of wildflowers in the Magnesian Limestone grassland, including the locally rare Burnet Rose and Autumn Gentian. The scarce spring sedge can be found in the grassland areas. The scree slopes have a different range of species that include Squinancywort, Wild Basil and Clustered Bellflower. Wych Elm suckers from old Coppice stumps abound particularly in the bowls of the old quarry works and may have been grown to fuel the kilns. Dutch Elm Disease kills many but there area few larger flowering trees and White-letter hairstreak are seen often.
The transect starts from the gate S1 and uphill into a steep sloping meadow with Burnett Rose in abundance an S2 and 3 down into the woodland that then opens to the entrance of the quarry working and the base of the quarry face and S5. S6+ 7 are back into trees and 8 and 9 are the lower meadow area. Peacocks are seen in S3-4 along with good numbers of Meadow Brown and Ringlet. Speckled Woods prefering S4+5 and 8 Small Skippers S4 along with Wall Brown. Small Copper are seen in S1 and S5 and Brown Argus in S2
After two poorer years counts have returned to near average. The trends mostly follow the county trends with a very good year for the browns and a very poor year for some of our vanessids. Orange tips numbers are rising in the short and long term and this is certainly the case here with another very good year. Small Copper was up here and has a mixed year however brown Argus had a cracking good year with three times the average here and very much inline with the county. All the vanessids apart from comma are very much down but in particular Peacock which made only a fleeting appearance this summer after good numbers surviving hibernation after a good year last year. The tortoiseshell boom ended with a bust and again it failed to have a second generation because of the heat and poor quality of Nettles. Comma is very different with a large boom in the summer generation unlike the other vanessids it alos produced a second if smaller second generation likely because it prefers to lay eggs on shaded nettles. Speckled wood boomed on teh second generation with the highest annual count of any year. Gatekeeper also boomed and ringlet and Meadow browns mostly managed improvements over their average. A better a year and almost up to 2018 standard as on most sites.
2021 was similar to 2020 with similar numbers of many species but an absence of the species like Holy Blue, Wall ,Skippers and Small Copper. Al the vannessids had a bad year as in teh rest of Yorkshire suffering with the very poor spring weather. However as with most of Yorkshire the quarry showed the boom in Brimstone, Orange Tips and Gatekeeper. It was good to see the return of the Brown Argus which has had a boom universally across the county in heatwave
2020 looks a bit of a disaster as many of its scarcer species were not seen plus the loss of the migrant Painted Lady and substantial drops in Peacock and Meadow Brown numbers which we can guess is a consequence of the spring drought conditions . In contrast Small Tortoiseshel in common with other transects was way up 3-600% being quite normal. 2019 figures are also presented as being more 'normal' for the number of species. Highlights were Wall Brown in 2018-9 and White-letter Hairstreak seen in 2018.