Dorset’s Powerstock Common is one of the top spots to see woodland butterflies, according to a new national guide published this month. The Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve, which is home to 26 different species of butterfly, made it into the top ten in a new guide featuring 40 U.K. nature reserves.
all ideal for butterflies
The 285 acre reserve, known in the 13th century as Poorstock Royal Forest, has ancient woodland with coppiced areas, damp grassland, sunny glades, a network of open rides and damp flower-filled ditches, all ideal for butterflies, including marsh, silver-washed and the rare pearl-bordered fritillary, wood and marbled white, purple and green hairstreak and dingy and grizzled skipper.
Dorset Wildlife Trust’s West Dorset Land Management Officer, Maurits Fontein, said: “We have been doing a lot of work on the reserve over the last few years, clearing rides through woodland to create corridors to connect one grassland area with another, facilitating the passage of wildlife, especially butterflies; we’ve also been clearing more conifers and making woodland glades. Following annual surveys in recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of marsh fritillary butterflies at Powerstock Common and we shall continue to monitor the situation to establish exactly what progress is being made. Because of the diversity of habitat, we are fortunate in having a very broad range of butterflies on this reserve.”
rarer woodland species
You can spot most species by walking on the main paths through the woodland and along the railway. May and June are best for the rarer woodland species, such as wood white and pearl-bordered fritillary. July and August are best for silver-washed fritillary, purple hairstreak and many of the grassland species.
40 Great Places to See Woodland Butterflies, published by The Wildlife Trusts, is available free at www.wildlifetrusts.org/woodlandbutterflies. Powerstock Common is open daily, for more details visit dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk. You can join Maurits for a guided walk at Powerstock Common followed by tea at the Kingcombe Centre on Wednesday 23rd May at 2.15. Meet at the entrance to the reserve by the disused railway bridge at Grid Reference SY 547974. £6 per person.
Butterfly spotting at Powerstock Common:
Classic woodland species regularly recorded: brimstone, wood white, purple hairstreak, silver-washed fritillary, speckled wood, and the site has recently been recolonised by the rare pearl-bordered fritillary.
Woodland fringe/ ride edge species regularly recorded: green hairstreak, holly blue, dingy skipper, grizzled skipper, comma, gatekeeper.
The site is also good for grassland butterflies with marsh fritillary, marbled white, ringlet, meadow brown, brown argus, common blue, small heath, large and small skippers as well as the more usually encountered wider countryside species such as red admiral, painted lady, large, small and green-veined whites as the summer progresses.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Fiona Sansom at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
Marbled White - Ken Dolbear
Brimstone - Dorset Wildlife Trust