Rodley Nature

Reserve

Site Details : Owned by Yorkshire water and managed by Rodley nature reserve trust

Volunteers : Howard and Penny Smith, Pragna and Simon

Situated just four miles from the centre of Leeds, Rodley Nature Reserve is different to most wetland reserves in that the wetlands were all dug out from scratch from rough grassland close to the River Aire. When Yorkshire Water plc decomissioned the Rodley Water Treatment Works in 1993 it was with a wish that their land should be developed as a nature reserve. The land is situated in the Aire valley and is leased to Rodley Nature Reserve Trust from YW who manage it with help from donations and volunteers from Friends of Rodley Nature Reserve plus the income generated from the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.

Despite the continued impact of Covid, and the appalling weather in April/May, 23 walks were undertaken. A total of 17 species were noted with Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Whites together accounting for nearly 60% of the 673 recorded sightings.

Being the first year it is difficult to draw too many conclusions but it was noticeable that the Dragonfly Pond Area and surrounding pathways (S6-9) had very low counts, possibly due to the significant amount of work undertaken to develop the pond area which may have reduced the nectaring opportunities for Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral etc. Tim’s Field was awash with Small White (S5/10) from mid July once the annually drilled seed mix had flowered. The buddleia finally flowered in late August (S2) and attracted good numbers of Red Admiral, particularly in September. Despite a poor spring, good numbers of Speckled Wood were seen in S11 in the late summer, a section that runs through mature deciduous trees and adjacent to the willow coppice. Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeeper were recorded in mid-summer in both the John Ackroyd Wild Flower Meadow (S3/4) and the Mike Fisk Wild Flower Meadow (S13).

On the whole the pattern of sightings mirrored that throughout Yorkshire reflecting the cold, wet, miserable spring which resulted in no count over 20 until 7th July followed by large numbers of meadow butterflies benefitting from the lush habitats and finally good sightings of nectaring butterflies well into September.

Howard Smith

October 2021