Private butterfly reserve

Owned by Les Driffield


Walkers:   Les Driffield     Distance 1920m   walk time approx 1 hour   Altitude 39m

Wenthillside is a privately owned and managed eleven acre conservation site in West Yorkshire.bought in 2013 and the lower field in 2017, mostly down to rough un-farmed grass with several small areas of trees and scrub, the lower 3.3 acre field bare agricultural destined to be a wildflower meadow. A SW facing magnesium limestone hillside with a large and varied wildlife content. To date 23 different species of butterfly, 19 regularly, including a large colony of Marbled White


S1 is an old agricultural field and somewhat improved and has been reseeded and replanted  grassalnd.  It has the highest counts  with Meadow Browns  and Gatekeeper at their most numerous here . It also a favourite with  Brown Argus , Common Blue, DG Fritillary , Small Copper and the Vanessids and the Whites 

S2  with its hedge line  and Speckled Woods appear.

S3 comes onto the calcareous grassalnds plus woodland mosaic  is the most shaded  area and Speckled Woods are at the highest score

S4 grassland are the home of the Marbled Whites and Large Skippers plus Ringlets  but also Silver washed Fritillary are seen close to the wood to the west

S5 boundary is an agricultural field at teh top of the hill is similar to S4 but numbers a little lower 

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%.

Wenthillside had a very good year with new species and a big increase in overall numbers much greater than the county average. The species trends follow fairly closely the county  with  large increases in  brown family  particularly Gatekeeper, Marbled White and Meadow Brown. In contrast to the drought sensitive Ringlet dropped back . Small Heath also appeared for the first time along with Wall which almost everywhere else saw a decline so this is promising. Speckled Wood also saw a rise along with the vanessids bouncing back after a poor year last year. Dark-green Fritillary had a very  poor year everywhere and this is reflected here. The whites were also abundant with a big increase  of Small White liely as a consequence of migration.