Our project work in the Alun Valley has restored habitat for the High Brown Fritillary and helped to increase numbers of the threatened butterfly.
In Wales the High Brown Fritillary has declined in range by 81%.
Up until 2003 there was a small population in Montgomeryshire and others at the southern end of the South Wales Valleys, but it is now restricted to one locality, centred on the Alun Valley on the western side of the Vale of Glamorgan, south of Bridgend (centred around grid ref. SS295764).
The project aimed to restore potential habitat in the Alun Valley to increase High Brown Fritillary populations. The project also aimed to improve the distribution of the butterfly, habitat quality of former and potential sites in the South Wales Valleys was also assessed.
- Seek opportunities to restore other recently occupied sites in South Wales.
- Use a combination of volunteers, contractors and partners to restore bracken slopes with violets.
- Improve connectivity between breeding patches by opening rides through intervening scrub.
- Undertake annual counts of the adults and regular assessment of habitat quality.
The work is co-ordinated by a part-time project officer who leads the management work, monitoring and engagement with local communities and landowners.
For more detailed information about this project and others across the UK please read the full report: Landscape-scale Conservation For Butterflies And Moths: Lessons From The UK.
- 17 ha of ungrazed land and 18 ha of grazed land restored in ten years.
- High Brown Fritillary adult counts increased from 17 in 1999 to 588 in 2011.
- Abundance of Violets increased and negative indicators (sward height and grass and bramble cover) declined.
- Other species such as Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Common Twayblade, Parasol mushroom and Dotted Bee-fly have benefited.
The project demonstrates excellent partnership working between the voluntary environmental sector through the local LBAP group, a statutory conservation body, local authorities, landowners and commoners. The High Brown Fritillary population in the Alun Valley has now been secured and the project has been relatively inexpensive: roughly £6k per annum (£58k in nine years) matched with over 35 volunteer days per year (345 volunteer days in total).