Peter Robinson, geologist

Peter Robinson, who has died at 83, was a Scarborough naturalist whose work monitoring butterflies in Yorkshire’s Dalby Forest gained world renown.

Peter Robinson

A former science teacher in the South West, where he went to pursue his passion for geology and the natural world, he had returned to his Northern roots in retirement.

Geology had been one of his earliest interests, fostered during his youth in Ravenscar by the work of the 18th century Scarborough geologist, William Smith. Mr Robinson would go on to write a booklet tracing Smith’s footsteps through Scarborough.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But it was his observations of butterflies for which he was chiefly noted. He was the first person in Yorkshire to monitor species in a systematic fashion, and his transects at Ellerburn Bank, Deepdale and Pexton were among the first in the world to be recorded.

For his work in the field, he was awarded the Yorkshire Geological Society’s Moore Medal.

The complex nature of orchids also fascinated him, and he was involved with conservation work in Scarborough’s North Bay. Along with Professor David Read, he was noted, too, for his study of a plant called yellow bird’s nest.

He lived for more than 20 years at West Ayton, near Scarborough, moving latterly to Pickering.