Flatts Lane, 

Eston Moor

Redcar and Cleveland Council

Site Details

Recorder Norman Potter        Distance:  5411m    Walk time: 1.5-2hrs

Owned by Redcar and Cleveland District Council this woodland is interspersed with areas of scrub, sadly diminishing due to the growth of hawthorn thickets and the planting of trees. Beyond this area to the east, the steeply sloping hill is bracken covered. Eston Moor was originally heathland but this is disappearing under birch, gorse and bracken since management  ceased several years ago Throughout the site are signs of the industrial past; ironstone mining on the hills and brickworks . Some of the paths follow the old railway lines which served these industries.



S1 starts in Neutral unimproved grassland  but in climbing to S2 becomes broadleaved woodland reverting to acid grassland in S3 and  through woodland  and rides of S4 onto heather and scrub of S5 S6 is a quarry pit and bare ground and S7 it changes back to the expanse of Eston Moor and heathland  and acid grassland . Back near the start we head out east through teh country park towards the old brickworks  at teh end of  S8 and return via S9The heathland of S5 is  favourite for many species including  Ringlet , Meadow Brown and the Whites .  S7  moorland  is prefered for Small Heath, Wall, Small Copper and the Vanessids. S4  wooded areas seems to have gone through rapid change  loosing its grassland substantially since 2016 as reported above while previously this was  equally important section as S5.

2023 Results

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%.

Flatts Lane is following a fairly steady decline, halving over a decade, and this year follows that trend with only a very few species following the county trend and booming mostly Meadow Brown.  One of biggest declines is in Small Skipper that has dropped from hundreds to low teens and is of concern that teh habitat has changed fundamentally.  Here Wall Brown follows the county trend of Increasing and although almost everywhere thsi year it decreased here it increased !  Great to see the Grayling back in numbers not seen for nearly ten years. The Vanessids have been very poor for 2 years now following the county wide crash but hopefully after this wetter summer we might see a resurgence next year with usually Peacock leading the way. 

Transect reports 2020

2022 Results

A good year with a big jump of 22% in numbers overall  but with some big winners and losers as in many  transects this year. The Skippers and Whites other than the Orange Tip were   losers and only the Comma amongst the Vanessids showed a slight increase compared to big loses for both Tortoiseshell and Peacock, as on all transects.  However, the Speckled Wood showed a strong increase which was nearly universal across Yorkshire which recouped most of the losses so far. Wall also had a good year with a 8 fold increase over last year  and double the average.  Apart from the Small Heath,  which had a universal poor year, the real winners which boosted the years total were the browns in particular Ringlet

2021 Results

An average year and only 3% down from the 5 year average  with 2018 and 10 being exceptionally good it was isgnificantly better than 2020. The trend with the golden skipers continuews to be going down with lareg skipper hanging on The whites had a good year  with orange Tip in particular having a very good year. In addition Small Coppter and common blue were both up . The  Small Tortoiseshell boom continues. but teh othe Vannessids did poorly. The damp loving  Speckled Woods and Ringlets both had good years and compensated for many of teh losses in teh other species.   The other browns did rather poorly including surprising Small Heath

2020 Results

 2020 Showed a small decrease with a dull wet summer.  However,  the  White's,  Small Tortoiseshels and Small Copper showed  increases . A drop in the grassland species  of Meadow  Browns and Small Skipper and the disappearance of Large skipper could be due to the drought conditions of spring 2020.   The reduction of  S4 grassland species is very noticeable  as the habitat becomes less favourable. Wall Brown is maintaining its numbers while Small Heath shows a slow increase