Blaze sweeps through Fritillary site

A serious fire is believed to have setback a project intended to protect and restore the numbers of the Marsh Fritillarybutterfly in Cornwall.

It is feared thousands of Marsh Fritillary caterpillars may have been destroyed in the fire which swept through 25 acres of gorse bushes and grassland at Goss Moor.

The area, which is close to the new stretch of the A30, is part of the Mid Cornwall Moors Project, designed to boost the increasingly rare Marsh Fritillary.

Dr Caroline Bulman, senior species ecologist from Butterfly Conservation, fears the fire could have done considerable harm.

She said the Marsh Fritillary Butterfly would now be in the caterpillar form. Many could have been lost.

Martin Davey, senior reserves manager for Natural England, was quoted as saying the fire could well wipe out species in the area in "one fell swoop".

He is also concerned about the fire's impact on the area's snakes and lizards.

The fire may have been started deliberately.