Staveley Western YWT
Recorders: Angela Ponsford, M Stringer and Jo Polito Distance: 2015m Walk Time Aprrox: 1 hour
Aflooded former gravel pits , 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.
A fairly even distribution of common grassland species with some small differences
S5-S7 sees the 'damp' loving Orange Tip, Ringlet, Small and Large White tending to dominate
S7+S8 are favoured by Small Skipper indicating long gresses but the presence of more wooded area greatly favours Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma and Speckled woods
This year is a somewhat down on 2020- 21 and well down on the recent high in 2018-19 But even so there are soem interesting new patterns emerging. In particular increasing number of Small heath since 2019 and now Marbled White is a great addition following just a couple of years behind as the species has had several dispersal events in recent years leading to lots of new colonies including along Nidderdale. Loss of the Large Skipper woudl indicate the grasslands are evolving and maybe dryer and over the years butterfly numbers are increasing by about 10% over the last decade. Most species this year are following the county trends with the Skippers, Whites and Vanessids being very much reduced partcularly Peacock the exception being ,as everywhere else, Comma had a good year more than double last year . Most of the browns with the exception of the more moisture loving Ringlet were well up but didint compensate completey for all the other losses