Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Bishop Monkton Railway Cutting

As part of our project to discover more about Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserves we took a trip out to Bishop Monkton Railway Cutting, a limestone habitat, part of the former London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), Harrogate to Ripon Line which closed in 1967. One of our first sightings and a first for the year was this Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus), a dark brown butterfly with white fringed wings and light coloured rings on the underwing.

I do like an interpretive board and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust never disappoint.

Here's a view of the railway cutting, the vegetation comprised Marjoram, Common spotted orchid, Thistles, Birds Foot Trefoil, Wild Strawberry, Nettle, White Campion, Buttercup, Thistles, Self Heal, Ox Eye Daisy, Brambles, Hawthorn, Elder, Willow.

I'm not so good at identifying orchids but the interpretive board highlights Common Spotted Orchid as a prevalent species.

At the far end of the track we encountered two Roe Deer, they stood chomping away for a couple of minutes before leaping out of view.

We were a week or two early for most of the flowering plants, but I imagine the marjoram and thistles attract a large number of butterflies. During our wander, as well as the Ringlets we saw Meadow Brown, Silver Y moth, Green Veined White, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell and I understand that 19 species of butterfly have been recorded over the years. Although we came away without any decent pics of the feathered inhabitants we did see a family of Long Tail Tits, Whitethroat, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit. A great little reserve to visit on a sunny day.


  1. Looks like a cracking spot for flutters, especially once the flowers open up. I saw plenty of Ringlet and Meadow Browns today but always on the move. No mention of tasting the wild strawb Linda?

  2. Certainly looks like a Common Spotted Orchid. The site seems worthy of a return visit in a couple of weeks.

  3. Hello Frank, I managed to leave the strawberry well alone, which is most unlike me. Maybe its to do with the fact that this is the first year we've managed to beat the slugs to our allotment strawberries and are enjoying a bumper crop. Im sure the resident beasties of Bishop Monkton enjoy them just as much.

    Hello CB, thanks, they're going to take some getting used to.

    Best wishes, Linda

  4. Great to be able to get such good views of the deer and so many butterflies too! It's great to visit all the hidden away places :-)

  5. Hi again, Linda. I was so keen to post a comment on these lovvely railway cutting pictures that I added it into my previous comment! It probably has something to do with my age!!

  6. Very interesting post and nice to see you are making use of YWT sites.

    If you haven't been yet then now is a really good time to visit YWT Allerthorpe Common. I was there last week and the Dragonflies were very active in the warm weather. There were plenty of birds around too!

  7. Those railway lines really are a cracking habitat for allsorts.

    Sounds like you had a good day :-)

  8. Hello Pam, its a pretty spot and its always nice to see deer.

    Hello Emma, thank you, whoops, easily done, I prefer to blame technology rather than age.

    Hello BB, thanks and double thanks for the tip, its great to make the most of these wonderful places at this time of year.

    Hello Warren, yes I love an old railway cutting. Living near the Kirkstall to Leeds train line I even enjoy the views from the short train journey into Leeds, the green spaces that lie sandwiched between the tracks and the railway fences are relatively undisturbed and are home to plenty of wildlife, fauna and flora.

    Best wishes everybody, Linda


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