Sun Lane LNR 

Burley in Wharfedale

Bradford Council

Site Details    

Recorders:   Janet Kirikaides, Nyree Fernley                  (Established in 2003  restarted in 2021 afer 6 year gap )    Distance :  870m     Walk time: 40mins  

12 acres in size this is a reclaimed domestic tip which required clearing in 1993 to deal with pollution.  It is now owned by Bradford Council and maintained by volunteers.  Re sown and restored it has a rich variety of sometimes unusual and imported plants and a wide variety of butterflies and a healthy population of Rabbit keep the grass in check.  A pebble-filled gully runs across the reserve, and plants like Red Campion, Purple Loosestrife,  pink and white Musk Mallow, Yellow Evening Primrose, Viper’s Bugloss with Rosebay Willow herb along the field edge. Geraniums are common with blue Meadow Crane’s-bill,  pink flowers of Herb Robert and Shining Crane’s-bill, a tiny Cut-leaved geranium 


S1 follows the main track westwards and is an annually cut meadow and sees a wide variety of species . This area with planted shrubs is  favoured  by Holy Blue, Orange Tip. 

At S2 we enter a  sunken sheltered flower rich gulley by the side of the railway  and attracts larger numbers.

 S3 with more shade  brings more Speckled Woods, Ringlet and with more flower particularly Marjoram which attracts  particularly the Vanessids

S4 follows the north edge of the meadow area with woodland to the north,  dipping down towards the pond and is a favourtite with Peacock and Brimstone.

 S5 is very shady with the lowest counts skirting the pond and under the tree canopy 

S6 we join teh road back, skirted by large trees but more open back to the entrance alongside the stream and is dominated by Speckled Wood. Several large Wych Elms grow the hedgerow

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%.

Sun Lane overall numbers bounced back  this year with a 30% rise but not quite competing with 2013-14 peak  the best  2 years  for this site and also Yorkshire's best two years. The only difference between those top years and this year are Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell hit and all time high and  this year an all time low.   Species trends  are very close to the county trends .  Peacock is showing signs of recovery from its all time low last year and even Small Tortoiseshell showed a small improvement over its 20 year low last year . The big winners were Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral and Brimstone all of which hit all times high in Yorkshire this year.   Great too see the Gatekeeper return after an absence of some years. 

Transect reports

2022 Results: 

This sites transect was restarted in 2021  teh first since 2015 It had a good record of previous years see below. 

For trending calculations we look only look at the 2021-22 season. 2022 was well up on teh previous year.  While both golden Skippers  were down and Whites up  and some improvements in the Blues family most significantly with Holly blue booming.  Small Torts and Peacock were well down as throughout the county with the heatwave while in contrast Comma boomed..  well over doubling.  Gatekeeper has become extinct these last two years which seems odd

Some tentative graph have been drawn showing the longer term trends NB but without the missed years