Marsh Fritillary - Iain Leach

A scheme to safeguard rare moorland butterflies has received an award for helping to improve wildlife habitats on Dartmoor.

Butterfly Conservation’s ‘Two Moors Threatened Butterfly Project’ aims to reverse the declines of three threatened and rare species – the Marsh Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary and the Heath Fritillary.

The scheme, running since 2005, works at a landscape scale across Dartmoor and Exmoor. 
Its key aim is to restore and re-connect areas of suitable habitat – as a result of this work all three species have benefited.

The project’s efforts have been recognised by Dartmoor National Park Authority which recently selected the scheme for an award.

Butterfly Conservation’s Two Moors Project Officer, Jenny Plackett, said: “I am delighted that the National Park has recognised the efforts of the Two Moors Project in working towards improving habitats for our wildlife.  

“Much of the success of the project is due to all the farmers and landowners who have been so supportive and incorporated wildlife friendly management on their land and to all the volunteers who have helped to carry out practical management and butterfly monitoring. This award is recognition of all their hard work too.”

Since 2005, large swathes of habitat have been restored and re-connected across the moorlands as a result of the project.

This has led to increases in the number of occupied Marsh Fritillary sites. The High Brown Fritillary has remained stable on Dartmoor against a backdrop of significant national decline, while numbers are increasing on Exmoor’s Heddon Valley.

BC Director of Conservation Dr Nigel Bourn said: “Dartmoor holds some of the most significant butterfly populations in the UK and I am delighted that our work to turn around the fate of these beautiful creatures is being recognised by our partners.”