Upper Dunsforth YWT


Site Details

Recorders: Alistair Taylor,  Gillian Higgins and Rosy Jamieson        Distance: 1540m  Altitude:       Walk Time=  1 hour

A series of wet meadows and areas of wet woodland, supporting a wide variety of wetland plants and an interesting and diverse range of insects.  


S1 +S2 low counts  with Speckled Wood dominant

S3 the old meadow has the higest counts  next to S5 and best for the Browns, Whites  and the occasional  Brown Argus.  

S4 + S5 is favoured by Green Viened white and G

 S5+ 6 are best for Vannesids and Brimstone.  

S7 Speckled Wood favours the wooded areas of 1+7  along with Holy Blues. 

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%.

Upper Dunsforth saw  a similar increase in Overall numbers to teh county average.  It also follows pretty closely the county trends across the species. The big losers were those sensitive to drought namely Ringlet and Green Viened white. On teh other hand after last year heat numbers really built up for Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Holly Blue , Speckled Wood , Comma and of course Red Admiral all of which  had their best year ever here and across the county.  Wall Brown wasnt seen this year but be assured it is having a good time and still spreading in the Vale of York although due to drought numbers were down.  Its lots of respects a spectacular year but not universally. 

Transect reports 2020

2022 Results

A  poor year in the drought with  many species suffering in particular big falls in the Vanessids but also the Whites,

 Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell really suffered  and none were seen after early July. 

Comma in common with the county trend boomed on the summer (hutchinsoni)  generation 

Although Speckled Wood  and Ringlets suffered  the rest of the browns in a large part made up for the other losses particularly Gatekeeper which tripled. 

Overall  -12% down was not so bad! 

Its great to see the Wall back and trying to establish of which can be seen in other localitiees too

In the long term numbers are decreasing slowly  of the more common grassland species which does suggest some deteriation 

2021 Results

A poor year  27% down on teh average  Almost all species  down on the average by 30-50% . Large Skipper was absent for the first year. 

Biggest loosers werepeacock and speckled wood. Winners were Ringlet up slightly and gatekeepr boomed as it didi in almost all locations

The Tortoishell boom has fizzled out! but continues apace eleswhere

Great to see the Wall back

2020 Results

A close to average year although lower than 2019 with its  invasion of Painted Ladies. There was some reduction in Smal Skipper and Ringlet but the wet site seems to have come through the drought of spring 2020 pretty well. As with many other areas there was a considerable booom in Small Tortoiseshell.

Some adjustement were made for the first weeks missed during lockdown:   Brimstone +4. GVW +5,  Orange tip  +52, Peacock +15,  

2022 Results