Brown Hairstreak (female/upperwing) - Iain Leach

There are 5 species of hairstreak butterfly in the UK. Like all butterflies, this group is at risk of habitat destruction, especially from development and changes in farming practices.

The Black Hairstreak and Brown Hairstreak have faced losses due to inappropriate hedgerow and woodland edge management. The White-letter Hairstreak has suffered due to Dutch elm disease since the 1970s. Even the more common Purple Hairstreak and Green Hairstreak have suffered declines in recent years.

The Oxford and Ampthill Clays are the only place in the UK where all five of the hairstreak family of butterflies can be found. We need to protect this unique location and ensure all of these beautiful butterflies have a safe future.

Project Aims

This project will protect the Black Hairstreak and Brown Hairstreak in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire area, working with local land managers to enhance the networks of hedgerows they rely on. It will also promote the planting of native elms for White-letter Hairstreak. The project will raise the profile of hairstreak butterflies encouraging people to find out more about them and submit their sightings, providing us with valuable information on the behaviour of these important butterflies.

Key species


Green Hairstreak (underwing) - Iain Leach

We are Identifying specific areas with scope for enhancement of Blackthorn hedgerow habitat and working with partners and landowners to improve and enhance the network of high-quality hedgerows in the landscape.

Areas with scope for enhancement of planting of native Elm trees are being identified and we are encouraging the planting of Elm trees to provide food plants for the White-letter Hairstreak.

We would also like to recruit more volunteers to conserve and monitor hairstreak butterflies in the landscape by engaging with people in the local area to reach those interested in volunteering to protect local wildlife.


Black and Brown Hairstreaks will flourish in their new and improved hedgerow habitats. More people will enjoy seeing them and their sightings will help map the butterflies progress

White-letter Hairstreaks will thrive as more elms will be present in the landscape. More people will be able to see them, learn about them and get involved in conserving them.

More people will be engaged in recording butterflies over a wider area and experiencing the benefits of conservation volunteering for their health, wellbeing and enjoyment.

The value of this ‘five hairstreaks landscape’ will be more widely known and appreciated. Conservation action to protect hairstreaks and their habitats will be better supported.

Partners and Project Funders

Thank you to The Reed Foundation, the Upper Thames Branch of Butterfly Conservation and to our generous members and supporters who made this project possible.

Purple Hairstreak (male/upperwing) by Jim Asher


If you would like more information or to find out how to get involved, please contact:

Caroline Temple, 5 Hairstreaks Project Officer.

Email: [email protected] or Tel: 07483039326