Devon BC Roger Bristol Memorial Walks - Walk 1 Orley Common

Roger Bristow Memorial Butterfly Walks

Welcome to the Devon Branch’s Roger Bristow Memorial Butterfly Walks.  This is the start of what we hope will be a series of Butterfly Walks in Devon - short walks around the county at good places to see particular butterflies at different times of the Spring and Summer.  Visitors to this web page can download the walk and print off the details to guide their visit.  Our aim is to add more walks to this page so do return and check for new listings and if you have further suggestions we would love to hear from you - email [email protected]

These Devon Butterfly Walks are in remembrance of a much respected and highly regarded member of Butterfly Conservation, Roger Bristow, who passed away in September 2020.  Roger was one of the founding members of the Devon Branch of Butterfly Conservation and he played a huge role in improving the knowledge of Devon’s butterflies. 

Roger served on the branch committee for many years and took on many roles from Chairman, newsletter editor and, most significantly,  as the Devon County Recorder for 35 years.   He was always very generous with his time giving talks and attending public events to raise awareness and share his knowledge of butterflies.

Please see below Walk 1 - Orley Common, Walk 2 - Ashclyst Forest, Walk 3 - Berry Head National Nature Reserve, Walk 4 - Kerswell Down, South Devon.

Walk 1 - Orley Common, Ipplepen - by Pete Hurst

Orley Common is at Ipplepen near Newton Abbot. It is usually accessed from the A381 Newton Abbot to Totnes road. In Ipplepen village take the road signed to Torbryan and Broadhempston which will take you past the Parish Church as you exit the village. Leaving the last houses behind, the small car park is found after about another 500 metres on the right just as you drive under tree cover (SX827666), nearest postcode TQ12 5UT. This walk is about 1.5km and is easy going apart from the steps at the end.

Key species:  Marbled White (late June – July); Brown Argus (can be hard to find some seasons but occasionally occurs in good numbers in August), Wall, Small Copper, Common Blue, Silver-washed Fritillary all best seen in August. Wall, if seen, occurs in small numbers in spring and summer.

Other species: Large Skipper (June/July), Ringlet (late June – July); Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, and Small Skipper all usually peak during July and August. Purple Hairstreak can be seen in July and August atop a small number of mature oaks that are present. Brown Hairstreak is also present but very rarely seen with August as best month.

Download Walk 1 (pdf) below


Walk 2   - Ashclyst Forest - by Paul Butter

Ashclyst Forest is part of the National Trust Killerton estate and one of the largest woods in East Devon.  Access to Ashclyst is best from the B3181 from Exeter through Broadclyst, past the left turn to Killerton, about another 100 m take a right turn signed Ashclyst Forest. Keep on this narrow lane passing the left turn signed Caddihoe until you come to the Forest Gate car park on your left. This route avoids a dangerous blind junction on the earlier approach just past Broadclyst.  OS Grid Ref:  SX471462. Two walks are detailed to cover different species at different times in the year.  

Key species:  Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (May/June) White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary (June/July)

Other species (various times of year) : Speckled Wood, Green Hairstreak, Brimstone, Common Blue, Dingy Skipper, Purple Hairstreak, Comma, Large and Small Skippers, Scarlet Tiger moth.

Download Walk 2 Pdf below

Walk 3 - Berry Head National Nature Reserve - by Amanda Hunter

Berry Head National Nature Reserve is owned and managed by Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust. On Gillard Road, Brixham, it is well signposted as you drive into Brixham.  Keep going up to the end of Gillard Road past the holiday camp on the single track road and you will come to a large car park (pay when you leave).  Post code for Sat Nav is TQ5 9AP.  The number 12 bus runs through Torbay to central Brixham and you can walk up to Berry Head from the town centre in about 30 mins - although it is quite a steep walk. 

Key species:  Small Blue (best seen late Apr, May, early June but does have a 2nd brood in July), Marbled White (late June – July), Wall, Small Copper, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow (mainly late summer but can arrive earlier), Hummingbird Hawk Moth (again mainly July/August).  See our leaflet below for butterfly photos.

Other species: Large Skipper (June/July), Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, and Small Skipper all usually peak during July and August. Brown Hairstreak (late summer) is also present but very rarely seen.  

Download Walk 3 pdf below

Walk 4 - Kerswell Down Butterfly Walk - by David Poole

Kerswell Down is on the edge of Kingskerswell near Newton Abbot.  From the A380 (not the Devon Expressway) go to the  village centre (Fore Street) cross the railway bridge , turn right and first left by St.Mary’s church, up a steep hill then sharp right at top and then left into Maddacombe road (which then crosses over the Expressway). The car park (SX870677 nearest postcode TQ125LF) is immediately on the left and has about 12 spaces.  For full details of access and a map of the walk please download the PDF below.

Key species:  Brown Argus, small numbers from May, peaking in August. Common Blue, Marbled White and Ringlet (late June –July) Small Copper, Silver Washed Fritillary (best July/August), occasional White Admiral.

Other species: include: Brimstone, Holly Blue, Comma (most months), Green Veined White from April, Orange Tip (April/May), Large Skipper (late June/July), Gatekeeper, Small Skipper. Day flying moths include Cinnabar, Green Longhorn, Scarlet Tiger, 6 Spot Burnet.

Download Walk 4 - Kerswell Down, South Devon here