Blackdown Hills Butterfly Project

Somerset Wildlife Trust, in partnership with the Blackdown Hills Trust, received funding of over £20,000 from Viridor Credits, through the Landfill Communities Fund, to support the Blackdown Hills Priority Butterflies Project.

The project, which has also been given additional financial support from the Blackdown Hills AONB, aimed to reverse the decline of four key butterfly species in the Blackdown Hills: the Marsh Fritillary, Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, Brown Hairstreak and Narrow-Bordered Bee Hawk-Moth. The funding has ensured that the very specific habitats the butterflies and their larva enjoy for feeding and breeding can be restored and enriched, and then joined up to enable populations to grow and expand by moving freely between sites.

The ongoing work involves careful habitat management at Somerset Wildlife Trust's Bishopswood Meadows, Jan Hobbs and Yarty Moor reserves, as the butterfly species' survival depends on having particular plants and flowers so they can lay their eggs, feed and move through the landscape easily. The project is focused on protecting and restoring wetland, grassland and open woodland on the Blackdown Hills, and practical work such as scrub clearance and coppicing to restore species rich grassland and hedge laying to create a varied hedge structure is taking place.