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Natur am Byth! (Nature Forever) is Wales’ flagship Green Recovery project, uniting nine environmental charities with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to deliver the country’s largest heritage and outreach programme to save species from extinction and reconnect people to nature.

High brown Fritillary [mating pair], Hisley Wood, Bovey Valley, 14.7.21 ( Amanda Hunter)
High Brown Fritillary pair

The 10 core partners are:

•    Natural Resources Wales (lead)
•    Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
•    Bat Conservation Trust
•    Buglife
•    Bumblebee Conservation Trust
•    Butterfly Conservation
•    Plantlife
•    Marine Conservation Society
•    RSPB
•    Vincent Wildlife Trust                                                                                                                                                                                                

Butterfly Conservation is proud to be a core partner in Natur am Byth!, taking the lead in the conservation efforts for the High Brown Fritillary – the UK’s most endangered butterfly.

High Brown Fritillary (caterpillar) by Caroline Bulman
High Brown Fritillary larva with Violet leaves and Bracken litter

The High Brown Fritillary has declined 96% in its distribution and in Wales only a single colony remains. The species is now restricted to the Old Castle Down and Cwm Alun area in the Vale of Glamorgan, leaving it highly vulnerable to extinction.

The High Brown Fritillary has very specific habitat requirements. Declines in the foodplant of its caterpillars, the Common Dog Violet (Viola riviniana), alongside increased grassiness and a reduction in the amount of Bracken litter on some sites have been identified as major factors driving the butterfly’s decline.

Habitat management is a key component of the project, along with identifying other areas of potential habitat that will enable the remaining population to expand.

The project is also likely to benefit other species of butterfly and moth, plus Shrill, Brown-banded, and Moss Carder Bees, and Adder.
In collaboration with our project partners, we will also work with landowners to help deliver appropriate grazing and habitat management regimes. Ultimately the project aims to  build resilient, stable and sustainable High Brown Fritillary population levels and increase the available area of suitable habitat to enable the population to increase and expand.

Natur am Byth! is about more than just conservation. The High Brown Fritillary is the perfect flagship species to drive forward engagement with communities and schools and provide opportunities for people to engage or re-engage with nature, offering the potential to improve their health and wellbeing.

Partners and collaborators: Natural Resources Wales (lead), Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife, Marine Conservation Society, RSPB, Vincent Wildlife Trust

The partnership has budgeted total project costs at £8m. We have secured development phase funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund, with our delivery phase application scheduled in Feb 2023 for a total of £5m.

£1.7m cash match funding has been secured from Natural Resources Wales, plus support from the Welsh Government.

The final budget and transformative potential of the project will be dependent on the amount of additional funding the partnership secures to match the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant. If our stage 2 application is successful a 4-year delivery phase would begin in Sept 2023 running to autumn 2027.

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