Local naturalist Peter Robinson, who wrote geology trails for Scarborough and Forge Valley, has died aged 83

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson

A local naturalist, whose work monitoring butterflies in Dalby Forest gained world renown, has died aged 83.

Peter Robinson - a former science teacher in the South West, where he went to pursue his passion for geology and the natural world - returned to his roots in the Scarborough area after retirement.

Geology was one of Peter's earliest enthusiasms, which was fostered by his youth in Ravenscar and the renowned Scarborough "father of geology" William Smith.

He was so inspired by Smith that in years to come he wrote a booklet 'Walking in the Footsteps of William Smith', along with a geology trail for Scarborough. He also wrote one for the Forge Valley at the request of Natural England.

Because of his outstanding work in the field, Peter was awarded the Yorkshire Geological Society's Moore Medal.

Butterfly Conservation regional officer Dave Wainwright , said of him :" Peter was the first person in Yorkshire to monitor butterflies in a systematic way. His transects at Ellerburn Bank, Deepdale and Pexton were among the first to be recorded in this country and, by extension, the world.

Brian Walker, retired Forestry Commission wildlife officer and, like Peter, a long serving member of Scarborough Field Naturalists, said: "Peter did vital voluntary work for the Forestry Commission on geological and wildlife surveys. His expert recordings would be sent to universities and relevant conservation bodies so that his fieldwork was invaluable to other scientists."

The complex nature of orchids fascinated Peter and he was involved with orchid conservation work in the North Bay area in Scarborough. Along with professor David Read, he was also noted for his study of a plant called yellow birds nest.

"Peter did a very detailed base line survey of meadow and marsh in Deepdale, Dalby, and as a tribute to Peter we are going to re-survey that area. I told him this before he died and he was delighted," Brian added.

For more than 20 years Peter lived at West Ayton, near Scarborough, but for the past two years lived in Pickering.