Hull Council

Site details

Recorders: Nick ballard & Sean Clough                 Distance= 1100m         Walk time=  30mins

Priory Fields   meadows  sit on the edge of the City of Hull.  The proximity to the city has allowed it to escape conversion to arable. The fields support a range of flowering plants that are rare within the city of Hull and even the wider area of the East Riding of Yorkshire including a good deal of Meadow Rue. Primary habitat is wet or marshy Grasslands surrounded by mature headgerows. It is maintained by an anuual hay  cut. In a good year like 2013 butterflies can abound.   


The meadows are at their best in S4 and S5  and a lesser extent S1.  S5 is a favourite for Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper,  Meadow Browns and Gatekepers. The Marbled White was seen in S4.  Large Skipper favours S5 

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%.

The site sees a big increase in overall numbers but it might not be a big reason to celebrate.  Many more species were down than were up!   The large increase is almost wholly down to one species Meadow Brown cancelling out the biggest loser; the drought sensitive  Ringlet. As with the county trends Gatekeeper  boomed tripling here and Brimstone doubling.   The Vanessids did particularly badly with not a single Peacock seen and even Red Admiral down while it boomed universally. 

Transect reports 2020

2021 Long term Review

Like some other wet grassland sites there can be considerable variations in counts over the 14 years but overall the trend is slightly upwards at about  5% per decade mostly due to slight increases in  Meadow Brown and Ringlet who's ups and downs dominate the annual totals. Other species show a small decline such as Small Skipper and Large Skipper down alot. Most species show the 2013 and 2019 peaks and the duldrums of 2009 and 2011 period reflecting wider countryside trends at this time.  

As in the Vale of York it has seen dispersing Marbled Whites in the recent boom years 2020-22.

 Wall  disaapeared at the same time as most areas in 2007-8 very wet summers.

2021 Results

Total count in 2021  was high 22% above the 5 year average and close to teh 2019 exceptionally good year which is against the trend of other transects being mostly down at least a few percent. The reason is mostly a very high count of Meadow Brown.   It far from all good news as with other transects the skippers were well down as were the cabbage whites  Small Copper and Common Blue. The Vanessids  were all down apart from Small Tortoiseshell which continues to boom on nearly all transects. Also reflecting other transects Gatekeeper and Orange Tip  are up.  It was great that Marbled White visited again but they are also had a good year on the wolds.  

2020 Results

Highlight of the year was sighting of a Marbled White.  However numbers of other species were well down this year in particular Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper but particularly Holy Blue. The skippers also suffered and we might guess this all relates to last year heat and this years drought.  Ringlet was also down which has been a pattern this year.   However the Vannesids were definately up particularly Small Tortoiseshells and the migrant Red Admiral and Large White showed very well.