Saving The Butterflies of Salcey Forest

Wood White Butterfly

The Wood White is one of our rarest butterflies and is highly threatened in the UK.

This delicate woodland butterfly has suffered devastating declines, with its numbers falling by 88% between 1976 and 2014. Northamptonshire is a key landscape for the Wood White and if this species is to have a  sustainable future we must protect it in the region.

The Wood White is highly vulnerable  because of changes in traditional woodland management, which have led to the loss and destruction of the precious habitat it requires. We know how to restore the sunny, herb-rich rides that it loves, but need more resources to help make this happen.  

The Black Hairstreak is one of our most elusive butterflies. Once widespread in Salcey Forest, its numbers have significantly declined in recent years. 

The rarest of the Hairstreak butterflies, it is now thought to be reduced to less than 50 sites in the whole country, declining in distribution by 61% between 1976 and 2014. Its reluctance to travel far makes it particularly vulnerable to habitat loss and increasing woodland fragmentation.

The Black Hairstreak is a localised species confined to the East Midland forest belt. Without conservation work in this area its future is at risk on a national scale.

This project will bring many other benefits to the local area, including an increased diversity of woodland flowers and an increased awareness of the plight of threatened butterflies locally. 

Conservation measures to help the two target species will benefit other threatened butterflies, like the White-letter Hairstreak and Dingy Skipper, a wide range of rare moths, including the False Mocha and Barred Tooth-striped as well as other wildlife such as Grass Snake, bats and dormice.

The Project

Our previous work to protect the Wood White in this landscape has seen great success, with numbers of this delicate butterfly increasing in response to our targeted habitat management. This project will build upon these successes, expanding the work to benefit a wide range of species and building on the strong volunteer network to engage a wider audience.

The project will begin in September 2017 and will include:

  • creating the wide rides and sunny woodland glades these butterflies need
  • ditch and bank management, to create a diversity of habitat that will benefit a wide range of wildlife
  • training new and current volunteers in habitat management, butterfly monitoring and habitat surveys
  • increasing the availability of the caterpillar foodplants for both species, including Meadow Vetchling and Tufted Vetch
  • linking of habitat sites to create a sustainable network.

Your donation will fund:

  • a Project Officer to co-ordinate management work, volunteer recruitment and training
  • expert contractors to undertake 2,100m of ride management and specialist, large scale, habitat management work
  • volunteer training days and events to train volunteers to help provide sustainable ongoing management of the site once the project has ended.



Donate today to protect the Wood White and Black Hairstreak.





This project is only possible with the support of our partners, the Forestry Commission, Butterfly Conservation Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire Branch, Butterfly Conservation Upper Thames Branch, Northamptonshire Moth group and Northamptonshire Biodiversity Record Centre.