Friday, 2 August 2013

YWT Brockadale - 2 August 2013

Brockadale is a stunning mosaic of limestone grassland, woodland and river habitats along the Went Valley near Pontefract. It is a bit of a tricky place to find for the first time, despite lying so close to the A1, it actually goes under the motorway! Heading south down the A1, take the Wentbridge turn. Follow the slip road round and then turn right at the T junction towards Kirk Smeaton. Once in the village, turn left on to Main Street, head past the Shoulder of Mutton pub and turn left at the next T junction in Little Smeaton. Follow the road round then turn left once again at the next T junction on to New Road. The road rises up the hill. look for Ley's Lane (unmarked) on the left. Follow this lane for about 1/2 mile and you will see the car park on the left at the end. When you leave, you can turn left on to New Road, follow this to a T junction that takes you into Darrington, where you can rejoin the A1 northbound at the next junction up from Wentbridge.

Anyway, Brockadale! It was a little cooler today than yesterday, but still in the high 20s, so very warm! Butterflies abounded with Meadow Browns, Small Skippers and Common Blues all common. In the floodmeadow across the bridge, the thistles were covered in Peacocks and Large Whites, about 100 of each! It took us a while to see any Marbled Whites, but we found them on the east facing slope beyond the footbridge, near the obvious pylon. Several were here and another was seen in the big meadow before the bridge on the way back. We also saw a couple of Brimstones, Commas and a Gatekeeper, but no sign of any Dark Green Fritillaries. Banded Demoiselles and Common Darters were by the river and a Kingfisher flew past calling. In the woods, Nuthatches and a Green Woodpecker were making a racket while the kids enjoyed playing pooh sticks off the footbridge.

Brockadale was covered in wild flowers, with hundreds of stems of beautiful Clustered Bellflowers being the highlight. These purple flowers added to the purples and lilacs of Devil's-bit, Small and Field Scabious and the abundant Black Knapweed, all of which provided a feast for stacks of bumblebees and butterflies. A lovely site and one well worth a visit. YWT is running an appeal to secure a small piece of land to connect two parts of the reserve. If you would like to make a donation, no matter how big or small, please visit

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