The Heath Fritillary is one of our most threatened species – restricted to just four areas of the UK. It can still be found in woodland in South Essex but recent studies have revealed a worrying decline in abundance.
The butterfly is now presumed extinct at one woodland site where there have been no records since 2013. Restoration of Heath Fritillary breeding habitat in South Essex is critical to the long-term survival of this rare butterfly in the UK. We are working with project partners to create habitat, increase the availability of caterpillar foodplants and improve connectivity between sites. Our work in this area has already proved successful with Heath Fritillary caterpillars reported in several different locations. More funding is needed to support ongoing practical conservation, provide training for volunteers and ensure the Heath Fritillary can be protected in the woodlands of South Essex long into the future.