Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Monday, 1st May 1999

A1 flyover, Brockadale
THE LITTLE RIVER WENT seems to be flowing in the wrong direction as we approach Brockadale from the village of Wentbridge. The dale narrows to a gorge as we walk through woods which include Beech, Sycamore and plenty of Ash.

speckled wood violet The soils that develop on the Magnesian Limestone favour a wider variety of wild flowers than we get on the Coal Measures immediately to the west. In addition to the familiar Bluebell, Wild Arum and Dog's Mercury, we see scores of Violets, Wood Anemone (including a double-flowered pink-streaked variety), the odd Primrose, Cowslips and Hart's Tongue Fern. A Speckled Wood butterfly zig-zags in the dappled sunlight between coppiced Hazels growing under the canopy of Ash.

Brockadale meadow brimstone
As we climb the slope of the meadow managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, we see Holly Blue, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tip and a Brimstone Butterfly, the first one that I have seen in years.

There are Early Purple Orchids, Crosswort and hundreds of Cowslips scattered about the turf.

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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