It is found around the coast as far north as southern Scotland. Inland, it is more widespread in northern England and southern Scotland. It is a similar size and colour to the Gatekeeper, but the Wall is much more heavily patterned and sometimes confused with small fritillary butterflies.

The Wall is aptly named after its habit of basking on walls, rocks, and stony places. The delicately patterned light brown undersides provide good camouflage against a stony or sandy surface. In hot weather, males patrol fast and low over the ground, seeking out females. In cooler weather, they will bask in sunny spots and fly up to intercept females, or to drive off other males.

The Wall is widely distributed, but rarely occurs in large numbers. Over the last decade it has declined substantially in many inland areas of central England and Northern Ireland.

Size and Family

  • Family: Browns
  • Size: Medium
  • Wing Span Range (male to female): 44 - 46mm

Conservation Status

  • Butterfly Conservation priority: High
  • Section 41 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in England (widespread but rapidly declining)
  • Section 42 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in Wales (widespread but rapidly declining)
  • UK BAP status: Priority Species (research only)
  • Northern Ireland Priority Species
  • European threat status: Not threatened

Caterpillar Foodplants

Various grasses are used, including: Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum), False Brome (B. sylvaticum), Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata), bents (Agrostis spp.) Wavy Hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) and Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus).



The Wall favours short, open grassland, where turf is broken or stony. It is also found on dunes and other coastal habitats, as well as disused quarries, derelict land, farm tracks, railway embankments and cuttings, gardens and field edges. 


  • Countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
  • Widespread in England, Wales and Ireland, but increasingly scarce inland.
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = -38%

Wall (male/upperside)

Wall (male/upperside)

Wall (female/upperwing) - Bob Eade

Wall (female/upperwing)

Wall (female/upperwing) - Bob Eade

Wall (female/upperwing)

Wall (underwing) - Ryszard Szczygieł

Wall (underwing)

Wall (underwing) - Bob Eade

Wall (underwing)

Wall (male & female) - Bob Eade

Wall (male & female)

Wall (caterpillar) - Bob Eade

Wall (caterpillar)

Wall (pupa) - Bob Eade

Wall (pupa)