High Brown Fritillary - Iain Leach

A project to protect the south west’s threatened moorland butterflies has received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Butterfly Conservation (BC) has revealed.

The All the Moor Butterflies scheme will operate across the region’s three major moorland landscapes – Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and Exmoor.

Much of the UK’s most important moorland mosaics occur in South West England and it is here that many threatened butterflies and moths have suffered the most severe declines, brought about by habitat loss due to changes in land management practices, inappropriate grazing or neglect.

The three-year scheme aims to reverse the declines of our rarest fritillaries and encourage local communities to get closer to butterflies and appreciate the area’s amazing natural heritage.

A development grant of £22,700 has been awarded to BC by the HLF to help draw up detailed plans for the project over the next nine months.

Butterflies found on the region’s moors include the Marsh Fritillary and High Brown Fritillary - both are among the UK’s most threatened species and both urgently need targeted conservation work to help secure their future.

Marsh Fritillary - photo by Pete SmithAlongside conservation work, training and specialist advice will be provided to land management professionals, advisers and site managers to promote best practice in conserving moorland for butterflies and moths.

Dan Hoare, Butterfly Conservation’s Head of Regions said: ‘I am delighted that HLF has given us this support which brings us a step closer to realising this ambitious scheme.

“The All the Moor project will help secure the future of some of our most rapidly declining moorland butterflies and moths and give local people a chance to enjoy them and help protect them.

“This grant will help us to identify what action is needed in each landscape and design a programme of events and training that meets the needs of local communities.”

The project is being developed in partnership with the National Trust and will involve a range of voluntary environmental organisations, local community groups, landowners and site managers across Bodmin Moor, Exmoor and Dartmoor.

The scheme will showcase management work in five demonstration areas. Management advice and support will be provided to farmers and land managers, helping managers to better understand the importance of their land and appreciate the rare species which depend on it.

The local community will be encouraged to get involved with the project through a programme of events. Volunteers will be recruited and trained to champion moorland biodiversity and help monitor how wildlife responds to conservation work.Volunteers are needed to help

Butterfly Conservation is keen to hear from anybody who would like to become involved with the project – please get in touch by emailing Jenny Plackett or Dan Hoare.

Butterfly Conservation is working in partnership with the National Trust, Natural England, the Environment Agency, Cornwall AONB, Dartmoor National Park Authority and Exmoor National Park Authority to develop the All the Moor Butterflies HLF project.