Silver-washed fritillary returns to the Big Wood

Trust Conservation Officer Andy Lear recently recorded a Silver-washed fritillary at Launde Big Wood, a significant indication that this species may be re-colonising its former habitats.

This large and graceful fast flying butterfly has pointed wings and silver streaks on the undersides which can be viewed as it feeds on flowers such as bramble. It is seen mostly in sunny glades and rides during high summer but breeds in the shadier parts of adjacent woodland.

“ In the first half of the last century, the Launde Woods were THE place to see this species, though the last records that I am aware of date back to 1940,” local expert Adrian Russell said. 

“Whilst climate change has undoubtedly helped this re-colonisation, I think this is an important milestone for the work that the Trust has been doing at the site in recent years and should be celebrated by all involved.”

 A recent assessment by Natural England’s East Midlands Local Area Team, Launde Big Wood is ‘one of the best woodlands in Leicestershire for its range of natural woodland habitats, which are really well managed.’ 

Please see our website www.lrwt.org.uk/nature-reserves or your Leicestershire and Rutland Nature Reserves Guide (available to members) for more details of Launde Big Wood.

Photograph:  Silver-washed fritillary (Andy Lear/LRWT)

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