Sprotbrough Flash YWT

Site Details: 

Recorders:   Mark Davis          Distance:  1625m           Walk Time:  50mins 

Sprotbrough Flash is one of the richest wildlife sites in South Yorkshire. A mosaic of open water, wetland, woodland and limestone grassland. On the north bank of the River Don it is named after its main feature, a long, water-filled depression parallel to the river. It overlaps with Sprotbrough Gorge, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. YWT is 28 hectares.

magnesian limestone has been mined since the mid-19th century. Mining has since stopped and wildlife has returned to this area. The original quarry can still be seen opposite the River Don, adjacent to the Sprotbrough Flash lake.The long lake from which the name of the reserve is derived is the result of subsidence caused by the collapse of old coal mines.

Wildlife includes common kingfishers, brown hare, grass snakes, Eurasian bitterns, ruddy darters, and the great crested grebe. Plant life includes common twayblade, common spotted orchid, spindle, small leaved lime, woodruff, greater stitchwort, sanicle, and the early purple orchid.


S1 From the car park the route goes SW along the edge of the wood next to the hay field   As the sunniest part of the transect  it has has the highest counts and sees Brimstone, Orange Tip, Ringlet, Green-viened White  and Comma. 

S2 enters the woodland road and Speckled wood are seen.

S3  leaves teh road and continues W  into more woodland and more Comma and Brimstone are seen along with speckled wood.

S4 returns back to the road  E and more speckled woods.

S5 is dark with  little to see.

S6 opens into open grassland and favours Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Common Blue and the Skippers with the second highest counts.

S7 is rough grassalnd at the base of the slope  and favours Ringlet.

S8  Re-enters shade along the edge of woodland and counts are low but Silver-washed Fritillary was spoted

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%.

  Sprotbrough Flash had  a good year and above teh average trend in common with many woodland sites. The species trends follow the county trends  with another big drop in Small Tortoiseshells with only 2 seen but bucking the trends there was a increase in peacock. Most of the sites increase in numbers comes from Meadow Brown which had a second very good year along with Speckled Wood , Comma, Red Admiral, Brown Argus and Brimstone; all  matching county trends. 


2022 Results:

2022 sees a big increase in numbers up nearly a quarter with the Big winners Gatekeeper and Comma.. Trends pretty much match those of the county with Brimstone on the up as was Orange Tip. Brown Argus appeared for the fist time in August and is likely the migratory cranesbill form . Common Blue also increased  and Holly Blue had an exceptional year as it did in almost all locations. Small Tortoiseshells were not seen after the  beginning of June and their summer generation completely failed in most locations and down to a quarter of last year. Peacock was similar  and almost lost its summer generation although an odd one was seen here in August after a good start to the year.  Comma had an exceptional summer generation and then good numbers in September overall it trebled from last year.  It was also great to see the Dark -green fritillary appear while it was absent last year. All teh browns had a good year but particularly Marbled White and Gatekeeper but smal heath disaapeared and one of teh few browns to show a marked decline with the drought