Hipperley Beck 

Site Details

Recorder:      Ian Popely                        Route distance:  6193m     Altitude : 122m     Walk time: 2hrs

This circular route  on the west and east side of the beck  is mostly conifer plantations with some  clear felled areas  with early stage coppice  that may make it suitable for Fritillaries.

  Mnay of the Forestry rides are wide and the chalk roads  encourage more flowering plants and a greater variety.  Dark-green,  Silver washed and a very good population of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary are present


S1  woodland is the home of many speckled woods.

S2 decidous forest with coppice was highly productive   For Fritillaries with 70 SPBF , SWF and DGF and its flower rich grassalnds held  many Ringlet and even small skipper and Common Blues  and a few meado wbrowns .

S3  also had good numbers of SPBF  and other species.

S4  less again with  some grassland species, 

S5  see very low numbers of speckled wood  or other shade lovers but surprisingly quite a few Peacock which seems to abound in teh upper half of the valley

S6 Even more Peacocks  and some Small pearls  Common Blue and Comma's and Dingy Skipper on the chalk road junctions with Birds foot trefoil and more flowers for the vanessids

S7 peacock reach very high levels  and teh second busiest section with wide grassy ride sides and more meadow browns  but particularly Ringlets and teh Wall was seen

S8 back into more shaded forest with many grassalnd species but still plenty of Peacocks

S9 more open and grassy than S8 and Comma appear in more numbers 

S10 again shaded but grassy forest rise 

Results 2023:

County wide 2023 results reflect  the 2022 Heat and 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 moisiture 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%.

Overall numbers at Hipperley were up 8% about the same as the county average.  Some of trends here were common to the county as well. The biggest winner numerically was Speckled wood that boomed everywhere to an all time record Meadow Brown also did well and seemingly bomb proof in the drought while moisture sensitive species like Ringlet suffered along with Dark-green Frillary and Wall . Great to see a big increase of Small Pearls.  In line with the county, Silver-washed Fritillary, Comma and of course Red Admiral were well up .  

Transect reports

Results 2022:

 Very interesting list of species on this new monitored site with both Dingy Skipper and Wall seen. Certainly both these species had a better year across the county.