Bank  FC

Thornton le Dale

Site Details

Recorders Ian Popely, Graham Oliver and Paul Cogan          Altitude 125m      Distance  900m     Walk time= 40mins

At the entrance to the Dalby Forest scenic drive  just outside Thornton le Dale this site is a dry unimproved limestone grassland on the tabular hills. The path follows an ancient earthwork and ditch  from Ellerburn Bank  to the Dalby Forest drive Car Park along the top ridge of  the eastern side of Thornton Dale.  It was largely native mature mixed  woodland replanted with pine planataions and now being restored  , it slopes steeply to the east .  The route follows various scallops cut into the forest and the ditch in places. Duke of Burgundy has been seen in the ditch  and the Marsh thistles and Bugle are  favourites with our other Fritillary species.   


S1 is a small meadow  to the east of the foot path sharing many species with adjoining Ellerburn Bank   but contains a good many violets and a strong Colony of Dark green Fritillary and Dingy Skipper plus an occasional Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. It is also the favourite of the Wall and  Brown Argus and Common Blue and plenty of Marbled Whites can be seen. 

S2  is the footpath with lesser number of woodland edge species like Speckled Wood and Green -viened White

S3  another loop from teh main path sees Small Heath and is the  home to more Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries.

S4 counts are very low

S5 has tall grass loving species like Large Skipper and high counts of Ringlets

S6 favours the damp loving of Orange Tip and Speckled Wood

2023 Results

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%.

Pexton Bank sees a significant decrease in numbers this year and worryingly a complete absence of Dark Green Fritillary after its collapse last year in the heat. The Small Pearls also seem to have suffered badly too on the steep sloping chalkland part wooded bank.  As a results almost all species lost out  apart from Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Comma Red Admiral and Brimstone all of whom boomed across the county. 

Transect reports 2020

2022 Results

An above average year but this site in contrast to most is steady or showing a slow decline in numbers with the last peak in the universally good year of 2019.

Small Skipper is on a long term decline here as are Large skipper.  Dingy Skipper levels held up well but were down elsewhere. All the Whites did well apart from Large.  Small Copper after returning for a few years disappeared.  A duke of burgundy was seen which is a first for many years and generally the dukes had a better year with some dispersal.  Brown Argus and the other blues were down  in the drought as  they were at next door Ellerburn Bank.  All the Vanessids had a very poor year with many not being seen after the end of June with enforced hibernation in the heat. Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary had a much better year trebling on last year but still this species appears to be on the decline. Dark green had a very poor year down to a tenth of the average  although it was down on most sites.  Wall is showing signs of a slow recovery after reappearing in number in 2018 it was however rather down thsi year.  Speckled wood remained average whiel marbled white was somewhat down. The browns accounted for most of thsi years gains for teh site compensating for all the losses.

2021 Results

2021 was a much better year than 2020 but not exceptional like 2019.

Brimstone and  Orange Tip saw increases as in many Yorkshire transects.  Dingy Skipper saw an increase to a new  high.  Large Skipper returned in better numbers and there is obvious signs of recovery after the spring 2020 severe drought in many species . Brown Argus, Common Blue and Small Copper  had some of their best counts . Comma and Red Admiral did particularly poorly as they did almost everywhere while Dark-green Fritillary had its best year. Speckled Wood is stil recovering while  Marbled White boomed as it did elsewhere and Wall did well

2020 Results

A poor year compared to recently particularly amongst our grassland species with Wall brown not appearing, Skippers apear to be in a steady decline. teh migrant Vannesids were wel down as they were on many sites along with large whites  but unusually Peacocks had a poor year as well. Fritillaries werea littel down while Dingy skipper looks fairly steady.  Duke of Burgundy was not seen. See comaprisons below:

The following adjustments were applied to compensate for missing beginning of the season: Dingy +5, Large White +1, GVW +7, Brown Argus +1, Red Admiral+2,  Small Pearl +2, DGF +5,  Peacock +5,  Small Tort +1