Bradford Urban Wildlife Group - News Archive
July 2013 

BBC features local wildlife.

Shipley Station butterfly meadow, and its butterflies, were seen in a program on urban wildlife shown on BBC 1 on August 1st.

Marbled Whites seen in Shipley again! 

In August 2012 a solitary Marbled White butterfly was photographed in a field adjoining Shipley station.

This year, on July 11th, 4 were seen in the same area by Alan Trenethick. We will try to follow-up this sighting - does it represent a new colony, or the release of captive bred butterflies?

January 2013

Plan B

A new teaching apiary will be set up at East Riddlesden Hall as demand for classes on beekeeping has rocketed.

It is part of a partnership between the National Trust property and Airedale Beekeeping Association, which is to set up ten hives on a piece of land on the estate.

Hive stands are being built and the hives should be on site in February or March, the Hall’s community and learning officer Shelley Hollingdrake told BUWG’s January meeting.

Association secretary Sue Chatfield said the group was attracting up to 40 people a year who wanted to learn to be beekeepers, with demand rising hugely over the past decade. A glass observation hive will also be set up in a building at the Hall in a teaching room, as an education resource for the public.

The project aims to create a wildflower meadow and incorporate plants which are attractive to bees on the land.

Local Scouts are also involved, having received a grant which will fund hedge planting nearby.

Beekeeper and beekeeping association newsletter editor Chris Hardy asked for advice from BUWG about creating a wildflower meadow, and the group will conduct a site survey later in the year to assess the plants which are already growing in the area.

The beekeeping association will continue to use its current site at East Morton as a bee breeding station, to provide stocks for new beekeepers, Sue said.

January 2013

Great Northern Trail

The Queensbury to Thornton Viaduct section of the trail was officially opened on Friday 19th October at 1:30pm. In fine weather local schoolchildren cut the ribbon.

Everyone present then walked along to Cockin Lane and Queensbury on the newly opened track. It is now nearly possible to walk from Cullingworth over two viaducts to Queensbury old station. This is a wonderful achievement and has been worth waiting for.

BUWG and Lorna have been involved with SUSTRANS to conserve and encourage wildlife - flora and butterflies – on the track. Thanks to Lorna for her very hard work in all 
weathers. She has done a wonderful job. 

January 2013

Baildon Holmes site off Otley Road.

There is a planning application for industrial units off a piece of land between the river and Otley Road. Apparently this is an extremely good site for butterflies, particularly the Common Blue. An ecological survey has been undertaken for the developers, Commercial Development Projects, and this document does mention the importance of the site for biodiversity and species of butterfly. Unfortunately, the plan for the building site leaves very little for a wildlife area, and we have submitted a letter to Planning. We hope to look at this site in due course, later 2013.

January 2013

Planning Proposals

Nick Boles, Planning Minister, has been making headlines by saying we need to build more houses in the countryside and saying if they were ‘nice beautiful buildings any objections would fade away’. 

He seems to think that if we have ‘nice’ (not ugly) houses built in the ‘right’ place we can slash away at the planning system and trust developers!  

Boles has even called objectors to many more houses selfish – they are not thinking of where their children and grandchildren will live! His simplistic viewpoints have caused an outcry from objectors, including our local councillors, saying that brownfield sites should be developed first and who is going to afford to buy these new homes when people cannot get mortgages? 

Mr Boles is quoted as saying ‘The built environment can be more beautiful than nature and we shouldn’t obsess about the fact that the only landscapes that are beautiful are open – sometimes buildings are better.’ !!

The Independent on Saturday 1st December ran an article in the features / news section titled ‘Why build new homes here when there are loads of empty ones here?’ The article by Jonathan Brown reported ‘If the Planning Minister gets his way, the village of Menston could soon be a lot bigger. But is this the best way to solve the local housing problem?’ 

He went on to point out that this former farming settlement offers the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales with a brief commute to Leeds and BradfordMenston Action Group, whose green and yellow signs festoon the front gardens of the village, has argued that 13,000 homes already have planning permission elsewhere in Bradford while 270 derelict sites await regeneration in the city and its environs.

In spite of all this, Mr Boles insists that all 1.6m hectares of England’s green belt should remain sacrosanct. We shall see.

January 2013

Ash Tree Disease

We have been asked about the Ash tree illness which is attacking trees, particularly in the south. We are fairly sure the disease is not in Bradford yet. We intend to wait until Spring to do a survey and assess the problem. We believe the Forest of Bradford will do the same thing.

September 2012

Summer! What summer?

For the first time BUWG had to cancel more than one outdoor meeting because of torrential rain. Of course we have had unsettled weather before during summer and floods. However 2012 breaks all the records! 

As I write this we are experiencing some warm, sunny temperatures (August), something we have not had since end of May! 

Apart from the end of May, the month was miserable, following the wettest April for a century. May was followed by the wettest June in England and Wales since 1860, beating 2007 when severe floods made the headlines. July has been unsettled and even when it was not raining the temperatures were below normal.

On 6th July there was torrential rain, and the beck down in Shipley burst its banks flooding the road and garage on the other side of the beck (off Leeds Road). This is the beck which flows through an excellent area for wildlife and butterflies.

This sort of weather is of course devastating for butterflies which need sun and warmth to fly, mate and lay their eggs. However, there were several Common Blue butterflies in and around the station and big field from June into July. The Ringlets were around, some Meadow Browns and Skippers, also Burnet Moths in the meadow (very sleepy).

This August the butterfly species are starting to pick up - several Tortoiseshells have appeared and, a first for Shipley, 2 Marbled White butterflies have been recorded in the meadows each side of the beck in Shipley. The species is usually found on chalk grasslands (Yorkshire Wolds) and there is a colony at Brockadale. Singletons have been recorded now and again (anywhere) but the species has yet to establish itself in Bradford, Shipley and Aire Valley. Its larvae use grasses. We will have to see what happens next year.


September 2012

Sustrans Proposes Bradford-Shipley Cycle Trail

During July I received a letter from Jeff McQuillan, consultant to Sustrans, (who has been involved with the Great Northern Trail) concerning a cycle track through Shipley. The track would take approximately the line of the old canal which runs on one side of the Bradford Beck through Shipley (which joins Leeds Road).

The whole of this area each side of the beck is a wonderful area for wildlife and butterfly species. (It is here that the Marbled Whites were seen.) The large area of field between the Ilkley Line of the station and the beck is the area surveyed during June (when it was raining) and also the area we took Estelle Skinner to look at for the possibility of conserving the area.

I met with Jeff McQuillan and a landscape architect in Bingley Library in July and we discussed the proposals - and how to improve the area for butterflies, with the possibility of enhancing with wild flower planting if the cycle track went ahead. 

I believe BUWG should support this proposed cycle track because this will only support our plan to keep this area free from development for housing.

It should be remembered that the SHLAA search for new land for housing showed housing proposals for each side of the beck outside Shipley Station. Even though the access is almost impossible for housing because of the railway bridge, any proposals to help maintain the area as a greenway and for wildlife i.e. cycle track should be supported.

My thanks to Joan for her valuable plant species list and to Stuart and Dave Wise for all their butterfly recording on this site (and their work on site) which has provided important information during a summer of never-ending rain. (Somehow they managed to be there when it was sunny!)  Susan

September 2012

Stanbury Hill, Bingley Moor Project

The above archaeological project has now come to a close and a publication is due to be put together with all the results of the project. BUWG became involved with a Lepidoptera list of species seen, mostly in August 2009.

I hope to include this in the Stanbury Hill report. Thanks to Dr Keith Boughey.

3 August 2012

Two Marbled White butterflies have been seen in the field next to Shipley station, one either side of the beck. This is usually a butterfly of chalk grassland, so it is a surprise to see it here. Could this be the start of a new colony? If you have seen a Marbled White butterfly locally, please let us know, using the contact link on the website.

12 June 2012 

Common Blue Butterfly sighted at Shipley Station butterfly meadow.

The weather has been bad for us and worse for butterflies, but finally a Common Blue Butterfly was seen at the butterfly meadow. We hope the weather will be suitable for further sightings at the open day

June 2012 

Undercliffe Cemetery

We have been asked to survey the wildlife present on the above cemetery by Undercliffe Cemetery Management Charity who have helped the cemetery to recover from the dereliction into which it had fallen. They wish to establish a nature reserve in one of the wildest parts of the cemetery and wish to set up a nature trail. 

June 2012

Bingley North Bog

Recently there has been a great deal of interest in the Five Rise Locks, Bingley, which had an open weekend end of January for the public to see the workings and large stones of the lock down below. British Waterways were cleaning and renovating the gates over winter and it was an excellent opportunity to see what  is normally hidden. 

At the same time I was contacted by Marion Blockley who is working for British Waterways. (Marion had a stall in Bingley Market last year to promote publicity for the North Bog as well as the locks.) She is putting together an Information Board on the North Bog which hopefully will be placed by the picnic area at the top of the site (near the entrance). We have supplied her with lists of the plants on the bog, and butterfly charts as well as photographs and other things. (We hope our logo will go on the board.)

There are other boards the waterways are putting on the canal on the Five Rise Locks and those have to have planning permission. (The North Bog board does not need planning permission.) However, all boards are to be done together - so we may have to wait a while before the North Bog board is ready to be erected, but it may be on display by the time of our second survey on the North Bog at the end of June - hopefully.

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