May 22, 2024


The Heath Fritillary, among the UK’s rarest butterflies which has actually been revived from the edge of termination many thanks to preservation initiatives in the last two decades, has actually been found for the very first time at the Woodland Trust’s Victory Wood in eastern Kent.

The exploration of this uncommon types is the outcome of a repair job on the website, which has actually aided wild animals go back to the location.

The initial old forest on the Victory Wood website was dropped and also tilled up in between the 1950s and also 1970s and also later on set aside as a prospective land fill website. It was conserved by the Woodland Trust in 2004 and also came to be a front runner website for the Trafalgar Woods Project to celebrate the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The Woodland Trust has actually currently recovered this useful component in a chain of forests, re-connecting it to enduring old forest pieces to both the eastern and also west. This comprehensive website neglecting the Thames Estuary is open to the general public.

Since 2005 the Woodland Trust has actually been videotaping the wild animals as it goes back to Victory Wood and also it is right here that the uncommon Heath Fritillary butterfly has actually currently been located.

Heath Fritillary, copyright Tony Davison, from the surfbirds galleries

Claire Inglis, the Woodland Trust’s Site Manager at the timber stated: “The exploration of Heath Fritillary is a fantastic discover and also follows several years of effort from volunteers and also participants of the Trust to bring back the website to several of its previous magnificence. We grown big locations of forest and also guaranteed barrier areas lined the nearby old forest locations to motivate all-natural regrowth. This planting/regeneration in barrier areas, together with keeping broad flights (trackways), has actually all been essential for the facility of these unique types. This uncommon butterfly returning reveals the relevance of this job and also we want to find even more types colonizing the website in the months and also years ahead.”

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Butterfly Conservation, the UK charity committed to the preservation of butterflies, moths and also the setting, has actually been examining and also functioning to preserve the Heath Fritillary because the very early 1980’s. At that time the Heath Fritillary was assumed by lots of to be on the edge of termination from the UK. Forty years later on, the butterfly, while still restricted to simply 4 populaces in the UK, is prospering in Kent.

Regional Conservation Manager for Butterfly Conservation, Steve Wheatley, stated: “The return of the Heath Fritillary to Victory Wood is the outcome of an elaborate chain of activities that started when the Woodland Trust began their reconstruction job.

“The women Heath Fritillary requires to discover the plant Common Cow- wheat to lay eggs for the future generation of caterpillars to feed on. The Cow- wheat is sluggish to spread out, counting on Wood Ants to bring the seeds to brand-new locations. In order for the Cow- wheat to expand, it requires to take carbon and also minerals from the origins of close-by oaks. This connection in between the ants, the trees, the blossom, and also the butterfly is simply wonderful, and also none of this can have taken place without the vision of the Woodland Trust.”

Woodland Trust personnel notified Butterfly Conservation to the visibility of the Wood Ants and also succeeding reappearance of Cow- wheat. In summertime 2020 Butterfly Conservation’s Steve Wheatley evaluated the Cow- wheat and also identified that it was currently ending up being completely plentiful to sustain the butterfly. Several Heath Fritillary were likewise seen venturing from close-by websites, yet evidence that they were utilizing the Woodland Trust website and also not simply flying previous or shed would certainly call for discovering the butterfly in its earlier phases.

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Returning this Spring, a group of Butterfly Conservation personnel, Woodland Trust personnel and also preservation volunteers looked accessible and also knees to try to find the caterpillar. Steve’s instinct was verified when he was awarded by finding the very first caterpillar basking on an Oak fallen leave alongside a glob of nibbled Cow- wheat. Woodland Trust volunteer Alan Stubbs located the 2nd caterpillar mins later on.

Steve described: “This exploration confirms the Heath Fritillary is currently resident at Victory Wood and also is an instance of exactly how operating in collaboration is having a favorable result on our indigenous types.”

The Heath Fritillary gets on the wing currently and also could be detected at Victory Wood and also various other close-by timbers.