East Riddlesden Hall NT


Site Details:

Recorders:     Martin Gouley                        Distance: 1320m              Walk time 1hour 

East Riddlesden Hall is a 17th-century manor house in Keighley, West Yorkshire, England, now owned by the National Trust. East Riddlesden Hall perches on a small plateau overlooking a bend in the River Aire on its way downstream from the town of Keighley. The transect follow the course of the Aire . 


S1 and S2 are  on the edge of the woodland and speckled woods and ringlets dominate.  and S3 is intermediate until we reach S4  and the lower east fields  and the wild flowers  attract plenty of meadow browns andsmall whites but also  both golden skippers are seen in this area S5 and S6 are the favourite of Small Tortoiseshell. 

Results: 2023

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%.

2023 in East Riddlesden  brought a substantiaa increase in butterfly numbers  exceeding county trends. The increases was driven largely by a large boom in Meadow Browns, up 500%,  which is well in excess of the county trend although it boomed just about everywhere. The rest of the species fairly closely match county trends with Comma having a stonking year. Small Skipper also came back from very small numbers and this species has boomed on lowland sites  where management is limited and long grass is not cut . Brimstone also had it best year ever and results here reflect that . Most of the losses were with Small Tortoiseshell which tanked everywhere in the lowland  in contrast Peacock has shown signs of recovery away from the heat of the  Vale of York. 

Transect reports

Results: 2022

With the best results so far the trends are very similar, in most parts, to the rest of the Yorkshire. The skippers were  down.  Large and Small Whites were up.  The migrant Painted Lady and Red Admiral  were seen in increased numbers and like many species this was very much a dispersal year The Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock  were universally down and failed to make much of a  summer generation  while Comma, a close woodland relative, boomed with a big summer generation and good later  one.  Both the browns florished in the heatwave as they did through the county.