Staveley East  YWT


Site Details

Recorders:    Geoff Blakesley , Anna Wallin and Pam Francis                Distance: 3402m          Altitude 27m                     Walk Time Approx:  1 hour 30 mins 

Two large, flooded former gravel pits (East and West), fringed with rushes, along with several small pools and drainage channels. Some extensive grassland and small areas of woodland. There is also a large variety of wildflowers, especially orchids, including a large colony of Marsh Helleborines. 


S1 is a meadow now being planted with trees  and although the smallest section has a very good count of grassland species including Gatekeeper

S2 is favoured by Orange Tip

S3-4 have relatievly low counts 

S5  goes through woodland where Comma and Brimstone are seen

S6 is favoured by the Vanessids

S7 sees good numbers of grassland species and Vanessids and damp areas favour Orange Tip

S8 has  high counts particularly Meadow Browns and ringlets

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%.

Staveley East  saw a very large increase in its overall numbers double the county trend.  This was in large part down to Meadow Brown which  more than doubled  to a new site record while county wide  it set a new record. The main loses were Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell as per the county trends but unusually Comma was not seen this year at all while almost universally it had its best year ever.  You have to go back to 2017 the last good Red Admiral year to beat this year! Its great that Small Heath has now ertablished firmly and making progress in this a bad year for this species; the habitat is certianly changing in their favour and Wall was seen again which is also brilliant news for the site.  Holly Blue and Brimstone had their best year ever here, as it did everywhere, doubling the previous best year!  A very special year!

Transect reports

Results:  2022 and long term look

After a lower than average year in 2021 this year is up a bit but this masks a good many substantial trends most of which are inline with  the Yorkshire trends. Small Skipper was down a bit as elsewhere but good we had the return of the Large Skipper. Brimstone did well as it did elsewhere  but all the whitse did poorly. Unusually Orange tip was down on this site with very good numbers generally while over teh county the trend was for a increase.  The migratory Brown Argus had a cracking year as it did on all its lowland sites and its great to see Common Blue really to the population levels of more than a decade ago. Holy Blue boomed everwhere with teh start of a fresh cycle with its parasite with abundance 4 times higher. The biggest story is  teh crash in Small Tortoiseshell and particularly Peacock both of which almost failed to produce a summer brood in the extreme heat and few were seen after June!  Comma as universally elsewhere had its bets year ever  increasing 8 fold on last year and having a super summer generation,  Possibly because it chooses to lay eggs in shady places it never suffered as badly as teh other Vanessids. Similarly teh shade loving speckled wood also had  one of its best years. Gatekeepr everywhere also boomed after a good year last year and while meadow brown increased somewhat Ringlet fell back as it did in teh majority of sites.  Overall it good to see teh trend on all species pretyy consistantly upwards particularly our grassland species like Small Skipper and Gatekeeper.

Results:  2021

Overal counts a little down by about 6% over the 5 year average.

 In terms of species there were a good many loosers, particularly Large Skipper has died out and Small Skipper well down which is similar to elsewhere.

Brimstone is up somewhat while  both cabbage whites are down particularly Small White. This is much like other sites. 

Green-Viened White and Orange Tip as damp lovers are well up.  Small Copper and Common Blue are well down similar to elsewhere. 

Amongst the vanessids Small Tortoiseshell boomed while other species had a poor year although bucking the trend Peacock did well.

Speckled wood and Ringlet were down as elsewhere while Meadow Brown was up.