All the Moor Butterflies

Pearl Bordered

All the Moor Butterflies aims to save some of the south-wests most threatened butterfly and moth species. The project is working in partnership with landowners to support them in conserving these target species, as well as engaging with communities to show them the wonder of their local wildlife.

All the Moor Butterflies works across some of the regions most spectacular moorland landscapes. Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor host nationally important populations of some of our most threatened species. The project will focus on the following species:

These wonderful species depend on the specialised and rare habitats found on these nationally important moorland areas. The project will work to conserve three main types of habitat, which are of national conservation importance:

  1. Purple moor-grass and rush pasture. This species rich, wet grassland (often called Rhôs pasture or Culm) contains a lush tussocky sward, that is home to many species of flowering plant. It often holds lots of Devil’s-bit scabious, which is the foodplant of the Marsh fritillary and Narrow-bordered bee hawkmoth. Marsh violet is also found in this damp grassland, which is a foodplant for the Small pearl-bordered fritillary. Up to half of this vital habitat has been lost, with Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor remaining some of its last remaining strongholds.
  2. Upland heathland. 10-15% of the world’s moorland is found in the UK, though much is in a vulnerable state and has been lost. The heath on Exmoor hosts a nationally significant population of Heath fritillary.
  3. Bracken/grass mosaic. Many of these moorlands steep valley sides contain swathes of bracken, accompanied by violets growing through. These warm, sheltered conditions are ideal for the High brown, Pearl-bordered and Small pearl-bordered fritillaries that require the heat to develop and survive. 


Project Aims

The project is supported by a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as many other partners, and will run over 3 years, finishing at the end of 2019. The project has several aims:

  1. To conserve existing populations of the target species, by working with landowners to support them in managing their land for these species.
  2. To restore suitable habitat patches within existing metapopulation networks, with the aim of increasing the number of occupied sites.
  3. To raise awareness of the target species, ensuring people become more connected to these rare and threatened species.
  4. To bring people and wildlife closer together, giving people the opportunity to explore these magnificent landscapes and discover new wildlife.
  5. To train local volunteers in how to monitor the target species, as well as carrying out practical conservation tasks to manage the habitat. 



We have an exciting programme of events and workshops to get involved with across Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moor. Please check back regularly for news of new events.


Latest News

2nd January 2018

You can now read a review of how the target Fritillary species did during the 2017 survey season. Download the review summary document at the bottom of this page. 

12th September 2017

All the Moor Butterflies Conservation Officer, Simon Phelps, was interviewed by the NatureWatch Cornwall team over the summer about the butterflies on Bodmin Moor. Take a look at the video here.

NatureWatch Cornwall is a project ran by EcoSoc, WildDocSoc & CLES, working with students from the University of Exeter and Falmouth University to create a series of short episodes focusing on Cornish wildlife.

21st April 2017

Butterfly survey season is here! Pearl-bordered fritillary have been spotted on Dartmoor, and Heath fritillary caterpillars in their final instar (last stage of development before pupation) are out basking in Exmoor. The Project Officers are prepped and ready to embrace the butterfly season. You can get involved too by coming along to one of our free workshops or public events. We are also looking for more volunteers who would be willing to help us survey for these special butterflies. If you live locally to Dartmoor, Exmoor or Bodmin Moor and can spare some time to help us survey we would love to hear from you (contact details below). All you need is enthusiasm and a sturdy pair of boots! No experience or knowledge is neccessary as we can provide training and shadowing opportunities.


Find Out More

To find out how you can get involved with the project please contact one of the Project Officers:

Simon Phelps - Conservation Officer - - 07717653968

Megan Lowe - Community Engagement Officer -



Heritage Lottery Fund, Dartmoor National Park Authority, Exmoor National Park Authority, Cornwall AONB, Natural England, The Burton Foundation Trust, The Doctor & Mrs Alfred Darlington, Butterfly Conservation Devon Branch, Environment Agency, Butterfly Conservation Somerset Branch, Dartmoor Preservation Association, Kate Ashbrook.   


Autumn Newsletter 2017

PDF 1.5Mb

Off to a Flying Start: The All the Moor Butterflies team have been overwhelmed with the response to the project so far...Read the latest newsletter here.