Duke of Burgundy (female/upperwing) - Mark Searle

The aim of this 18-month project was to maintain and improve a discrete area of suitable habitat for the Duke of Burgundy in the southern Chilterns landscape, between High Wycombe and Princes Risborough.

The project aimed to deliver:

  • Scrub management across 6 sites
  • Ruderal control across 6 sites
  • Planting 250 metres of hedgerow between 2 isolated butterfly colonies
  • Propagation and planting of more than 2,000 Cowslips

The project took place 2017 to 2018.

Key species


Extensive habitat management work was undertaken winter 2017/18 by professional contractors. This involved the cutting, raking and burning of large quantities of scrub and woody material to enhance a habitat mosaic specifically suited to the Duke of Burgundy.

Volunteers were involved in activities including scrub clearance, hedge-planting, seed collection, growing cowslips, planting, butterfly counts, and fence repairs.

Lindengate (a mental health charity that offers specialised gardening activities to help those with mental health needs in their continuing recovery) took delivery of seed collected from the project area and propagated these to produce mature Cowslips that could then be planted back out into the project area. Lindengate produced over 2,000 new Cowslips for the project. They also retained some seed and continue to produce even more Cowslips.


Duke of Burgundy by Peter Eeles

In 18 months the project has delivered extensive habitat enhancement for the Duke of Burgundy butterfly and other wildlife across 8 key areas of four important sites and is continuing to deliver benefits through a greater abundance of the Duke of Burgundy foodplants (Cowslips).

More than 2,000 new Cowslips have been produced and planted.

A new 250 metre hedgerow has been fenced and planted. This long-term investment will help to create a new area of shelter and roosting for the Duke of Burgundy and connect two populations that were previously separated. National Trust staff and their volunteers are continuing to look after this new feature.

At least 223 different people (ages ranging from 9 to 80) volunteered time to the project, contributing an equivalent of 316 days.



The National Trust

Chiltern Rangers 

Chiltern Society

Natural England

Project Funders

Veolia Environmental Trust


Butterfly Conservation’s Upper Thames Branch

Project Acknowledgements

Duke of Burgundy - Iain H Leach

Butterfly Conservation is grateful to the project funders and supporters who were essential in ensuring the success of the project. Groups involved included the Chiltern Rangers, Lindengate, National Trust, Bucks UTC, Red Kite Housing, Vodafone, Social Enterprise UK, Chiltern Society and Natural England.

A special thank you goes to Nick Bowles, Chair of Butterfly Conservation’s Upper Thames Branch, and to John Shaw of Chiltern Rangers. who contributed so much time and effort to the project.

Where to Visit  

Bradenham Estate via visitor car park on Small Dean Lane (nearest postcode: HP27 0PR, Grid ref: SU823989


Steve Wheatley (Regional Conservation Manager, South East England) Twitter: @steve4nature


Duke of Burgundy Species Factsheet