Create a safer future for the Heath Fritillary in the South East


The Heath Fritillary is one of England’s most restricted and threatened butterflies. This vulnerable species has already come close to extinction once; we need to ensure this does not happen again.

With your support we can keep the Heath Fritillary safe by creating areas within woodland that combine the shade the foodplant needs with the sunlit areas the butterfly prefers.

Blean Woods is the only location in the South East Region where the Heath Fritillary can be found. But here the caterpillar foodplant has changed its growing pattern. Cow-wheat used to grow in the same sunlit open areas that the butterfly frequents but it’s now more commonly found on shaded verges, out of the butterflies’ preferred sun-lit territory. 

Heath Fritillary (upperwing) - Iain Leach

The Heath Fritillary is only found in four locations across the UK and came dangerously close to extinction in the 1970s when its population plummeted.

Our work with landowners to target habitat management in the right areas brought this butterfly back from the brink of extinction.

Heath Fritillary (underwing) - Tamás Nestor

The changing growing pattern of the butterfly’s main foodplant, Cow-wheat, is making it more challenging for the butterfly to find and harder to provide the right habitat with sunlight for the butterfly but shade for the plant.

Without action the butterfly will not be able to lay its eggs on the plant its caterpillars require, the next generation will struggle and the future of the Heath Fritillary in Kent will be at risk.

Heath Fritillary (caterpillar) - Peter Eeles
Your donation will fund: 
  • Regular monitoring of butterfly populations within the woodland, meaning we can react quickly to changes in numbers.
  • Training for volunteers in detailed butterfly and habitat survey techniques.
  • Surveys of the Cow-wheat plants so we can test and adapt habitat management.
  • Advice for landowners so the right habitat is created across a wider area, allowing the butterfly to spread across the landscape.
  • Community events to raise awareness of this rare butterfly and practical opportunities to help protect it.


Make a bigger impact with a smaller monthly gift

We are grateful for every gift. You can make even more of a difference by becoming a member of Butterfly Conservation, supporting long-term projects and helping more species to stay protected.

If we raise more funding than required for these projects, we will use your gift to support other conservation work and activities.