There are currently under 60 species of butterflies in the UK, and many of them are facing a serious decline in numbers. Development of our countryside and changes in farming methods have led to extensive losses of butterfly habitats and, despite conservation efforts, some species might even face extinction.
We are lucky that Dorset is still a haven for many species
Butterflies are important pollinators and, as they are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment and the weather, they are good indicators of anything having gone awry; a decline in a butterfly population indicates that a habitat is becoming less suitable for wildlife overall. As a species, they are not very adaptable, and many wildlife reserves around the country are dedicated to creating and conserving suitable habitats for endangered species.
We are lucky that Dorset is still a haven for many species; in fact it is one of the best places in the country to see butterflies. Nature reserves in the county are managed for the benefit of butterflies, including rare and threatened species such as marsh fritillary (try Kingcombe Meadows or Powerstock Common), silver studded blue (heathland reserves) or Adonis blue (King Barrow Quarries on the Isle of Portland).
Gardening with butterflies in mind provides ever more important habitats. Butterflies are attracted to nectar rich gardens where plants such as primrose, buddleia and thyme flourish in sunny but sheltered spots, and by letting wildflowers grow in abundance and avoiding chemicals, you will further encourage these welcome visitors.
Powerstock Common has been named one of the top reserves in the country for woodland butterflies in a guide published by The Wildlife Trusts at wildlifetrusts.org/woodlandbutterflies. For more information about what to see at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s reserves, visit dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/reserves.
How can I get involved?
Coming up: Wednesday 11th July 11 am to 1 pm Butterfly Walk at King Barrow quarries Nature Reserve, Isle of Portland. Meet at the entrance by the name stone on Yeates Road, just off A354. Booking essential on 01305 816546. Dorset Wildlife Trust is part of the Natural Weymouth and Portland Partnership; connecting people with nature.
Notes to Editor
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 is part of the Natural Weymouth and Portland Partnership; connecting people with nature
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.
Silver-studded Blue - Ken Dolbear
SW fritillary - Dorset Wildlife Trust