Nature lovers cheered as rare butterfly seen at city reserve

nature lovers are celebrating in Leeds after a rare butterfly was revealed to have taken up home in the area.

Visitors to Townclose Hills Local Nature Reserve, near Kippax, have reported sightings of an unusual butterfly over the last 12 months, which has now been confirmed to be a marbled white.

The species is more normally associated with warmer southern climates in the UK, but other sightings of colonies in Durham and on the Yorkshire Wolds have led experts to believe climate change is pushing then north.

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The exact locations of the sightings at Townclose Hills are being kept secret to protect the butterflies but it is hoped the species will colonise the area as the limestone grassland and scrub areas to be found there provide the ideal habitat for the marbled white to prosper.

Townclose Hills is already home to several other butterfly species including gatekeeper, comma, meadow brown, common blue and holly blue.

Townclose Hills, also known locally as Billy Wood, is maintained by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service with support from the Friends of Billy Wood and the Leeds Wildlife Volunteers.

Leeds City Council’s natural habitats manager Elaine Hill said: “We are all really excited that the marbled white butterfly has moved into Townclose Hills.”