Papers – Volume 8

Volume 8

Volume 8, edited by Nicki J. Whitehouse and Paul Buckland. Published 2011. Pp.[i]-xii, 1–156; 16 colour photographs. Colour ‘wraparound’ photographic cover (Polytrichum).
Price £7.00 plus p&p

Peter Skidmore: an appreciation. – Martin Limbert
Tribute to Jack and Ethel Lyon. – Helen R. Kirk


“Surprising but not always informative”? Archaeological Investigations of the Hatfield Trackway and Platform. – Ben Gearey & Henry Chapman

This paper outlines the discovery, excavation and interpretation of the archaeological site discovered in the north of Hatfield Moors in 2004. Although fragmentary and poorly preserved, the site was identified as a timber trackway and platform, with radiocarbon dates indicating that it had been built during the late Neolithic. Stratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental study demonstrated that the structure had been laid down across a shallow pool which had formed during the earliest stages of peat growth on Hatfield Moors and hence prior to the development of raised mire. The architecture of the site is unusual and suggests that it may have had a „ritual‟ function rather than a practical one such as crossing or accessing the incipient wetland.

Recent palaeoecological research on Hatfield Moors and the River Torne Floodplain.- Lauren Mansell

This paper summarises on-going palaeoecological research taking place on Hatfield Moors and its surrounding floodplains. The Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum have supported fieldwork associated with this research. The main focus of this work is to reconstruct environmental conditions (via sub-fossil beetle analysis and other proxy data) from the early to late Holocene period, with the aim of identifying major episodes of change across a transect from raised mire to floodplain. The main focus is to provide greater clarity on environmental and climatic change within the Humberhead Levels by placing the results into a wider landscape setting. Thus far, two floodplain sites on the River Torne have been identified and sampled, with sequences dating between 9000-300 cal BC. The sequences appear rich in palaeoecological remains and show considerable potential. Data collection from one mire site (Wroot, Hatfield Moors) is largely complete, with beetles demonstrating shifts in hydrological conditions, dating from around 3000 cal BC.

The mosses and liverworts of Hatfield Moors. – Colin Wall

The list of Hatfield Moors bryophytes detailed below currently stands at 121 taxa. This was compiled primarily through fieldwork on the moors from 2004–08 inclusive. Also included in the paper are all known „historical‟ (pre-2004) records and a history of Hatfield Moors bryology. The main moorland habitats are outlined along with their characteristic mosses and liverworts. During fieldwork, particular attention was given to the genus Sphagnum in recognition of its significance with regard to the moors‟ flora generally. The effect of the invasive moss Campylopus introflexus was also investigated.

Despite the intensity of peat winning, which gathered momentum during the 1980s, the only serious bryological casualties appear to have been some leafy liverworts. These were reduced in status or eradicated along the western edge of Hatfield Moors when the Prison Lakes were excavated. Sphagnum appears to have been remarkably resilient in three main refugia, in spite of massive losses in areas of peat removal. S. cuspidatum, in particular, is showing signs of colonising the re-wetted central areas.
A tabular comparison with the Thorne Moors bryoflora is given. With regard to species diversity, it is demonstrated that on Thorne Moors, there are obvious advantages of greater acreage, less extensive peat winning, and carr woodland with epiphyte-friendly willow trees. This is cancelled out to some extent by Hatfield Moors‟ exposed peripheral sand deposits and arable fields. As explained in the present paper, the inclusion of the arable land at Hatfield within the study area stems from its origin as dry warp overlying the original peat, and its partial enclosure by moorland habitat.

The Thysanoptera of Thorne and Hatfield Moors. – Dom Collins

An updated checklist of thrips species (Insecta: Thysanoptera) which have been recorded from Thorne and Hatfield Moors is presented, following eight collecting visits made by the author in 2008 and 2009. A total of 30 species of thrips have now been recorded.

An update on the status of Large Heath Butterfly on Hatfield Moors. – Helen R Kirk & Tim Melling:

This paper investigates the history of the Large Heath butterfly, Coenonympha tullia, (Müller) on Hatfield Moors, tracking its decline and probable extinction in the mid-1990s, consequential of drainage to facilitate industrial scale peat extraction. Here we report on a survey undertaken by us, following reference to its proposed re-introduction in a publication by English Nature, The Butterflies of Yorkshire (2005). Whilst making final checks that there were no lingering butterflies from the original stock in 2005, an “unofficial” reintroduction apparently took place, and Large Heaths have been seen on the Moors annually since then. Unfortunately, the butterflies introduced onto the Moors appear not to have been from pure local stock, as traits characteristic of the Shropshire population are now present, which were not present in the native populations of either Thorne or Hatfield Moors.

Monitoring the potential effects of noise at Lindholme gas compressor facility on breeding nightjars Caprimulgus europaeus. – Mike Armitage

Scottish Power operates a gas compressor facility adjacent to Hatfield Moors, which allows gas to be stored and released to the national network. Hatfield Moors is a component of the Thorne and Hatfield Moors Special Protection Area (SPA), designated for its internationally important breeding nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus Linnaeus population. The close proximity of the facility to the SPA raised concerns over the possibility of noise disturbance to breeding nightjars during nocturnal operation of the gas compressor. Noise level surveys carried out near the compressor facility concluded that the noise intrusion during operation would not affect avian wildlife. Monitoring of the local nightjar population was also carried out over three years to determine whether or not birds were affected. There was no evidence that the operation of the compressor had any effect on the distribution of nightjar territories near the facility or on the number of breeding territories within Hatfield Moors. This is most likely because the level of noise emitted by the gas compressor has very little intrusion over and above the existing background noise levels in the areas where nightjars breed.

A Botanical Survey of Hatfield Chase Drains (2007). – Louise Hill

A series of botanical surveys have been carried out on drains of the Hatfield Chase area since 1986. A number of these drains were designated as a Site of Special Scientific. Interest (SSSI) in 1999. Concerns about drain management prompted further surveys of 17 drain sections within the SSSI in 2007. The objective was to collect sufficient data to enable the production of a report that would provide an update on the status of a small, but (hopefully) representative sample of the SSSI drains. The method of survey and the interpretation of results followed that used in previous surveys. The results showed a decline in the nature conservation value of some drain sections, and a decline in both the botanical diversity and the number of rare plant species found. The possible reasons for the decline are briefly discussed


Adder and Grass snake, Hatfield Moors, August 2008. – Helen R Kirk & John Wozencroft

Flora by Foot: an update. – Ian McDonald

Following the botanical survey of Hatfield Moors in 2006-07 and the subsequent publication by the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum (McDonald 2009), it was felt that a periodic review should take place. This paper represents the first such update and was prompted particularly by the locating of two extremely uncommon species.

Coconut Wainscot’: a new species for Hatfield Moors: An observation on feeding behaviour of Lepidoptera attracted to light traps. Helen R Kirk

Recent additions to the Lepidoptera list of Hatfield and Thorne Moors. – Helen R Kirk

This paper summarises recent work on Hatfield Moors and provides details for 159 species updates for the site. Of these, 85 are new species to the Hatfield list, 44 of which are for species not previously recorded from either moor.

Notes on the Bog Bush-cricket on Hatfield Moors. – Martin Limbert & Helen R Kirk:

Araneus marmoreus: both colour variants discovered on Hatfield Moors. – Helen R Kirk & Colin A Howes

Philodromus histrio: a new arachnid species for Hatfield Moors. – Helen R Kirk

Additional historical records of Black Grouse – Martin Limbert:


Hatfield Moors showing compartment names

The map illustrated here is based on an English Nature compartment map and has been redrawn to include more area names and updated information, particularly with regard to access.