Project Aim

The Rusland Horizons Landscape Scheme area in South Cumbria is an important area for rare and threatened species of butterflies and moths.

The Wings in the Woods Project aims to increase the understanding of the distribution of the species through surveying and monitoring, and enhance the habitat through advice and practical help to landowners and managers. 

The Project also aims to involve volunteers from the local community in butterfly and moth surveying and monitoring, and will provide training in these and practical conservation skills.


Key species


  • Surveying to improve the knowledge of the distribution of the species.
  • Monitoring of known populations of the species.
  • Habitat assessments for Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy butterflies to inform habitat management.
  • Recruitment and training of volunteers to continue the Project after 2019.
  • Advice to landowners and managers to enhance habitats and connectivity across the landscape.
  • Practical habitat enhancement with volunteers in woodland/bracken management and increasing larval foodplants. 


The Wings in the Woods Project is one of 15 smaller projects within the 3 year, Rusland Horizons Landscape Partnership SchemeThis scheme encompasses a real living, working landscape. Local people, agencies and visitors will work together to revive traditional skills, and to learn about, enhance and enjoy the heritage, habitats and wildlife of this quiet and very special place. The Wings in the Woods Project is delivered by Butterfly Conservation.


The project has been very successful in finding out more about the rare butterflies and moths in the Rusland Horizons area, due to the enthusiasm and commitment of volunteers, staff and landowners and managers.  The area has been revealed to hold a nationally significant number of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies.  Two new populations of the Argent & Sable moth were discovered.  New sites for the Duke of Burgundy were also found, and the habitat for this most northerly UK population improved through primrose planting.  However, the High Brown Fritillary is struggling in the area, with very few seen in the last three years, despite an increase in surveys.  More people of all ages have been involved with the monitoring of the Netted Carpet moth. The Rusland area of the south Lake District has been shown to be a fascinating and valuable area for butterflies and moths, and the local population have been engaged with their area.


Although the HLF funding has ended, the Rusland Horizons Trust has been set up to continue the activity in to the future.  The Wings in the Woods work will continue, coordinated by the local community volunteers and supported by Butterfly Conservation Northern Region and the Cumbria Branch.


Thanks to the Rusland Horizons Team, volunteers, landowners and managers for their support.

Project Funders

The Rusland Horizons Landscape Partnership Scheme is funded from 2016 - 2019 by the Heritage Lottery.

Project Acknowledgements

Thanks to the Rusland Horizons Landscape Scheme staff and Trustees for their help and support.