Up until 2003 there was a small population in Montgomeryshire and others at the southern end of the South Wales Valleys, but it is now restricted to one locality, centred on the Alun Valley on the western side of the Vale of Glamorgan, south of Bridgend. The project consists of
- Using a combination of volunteers, contractors and partners to restore bracken slopes with violets.
- Improving connectivity between breeding patches by opening rides through the intervening scrub.
- Undertaking annual counts of the adults and regular assessment of habitat quality.
- Restoring other recently occupied sites in South Wales.
The work is co-ordinated by BC Wales staff and volunteers, who lead the management work, monitoring and engagement with local communities and landowners.
- 17 ha of ungrazed land and 18 ha of grazed land restored in ten years.
- High Brown Fritillary adult counts increased from 17 in 1999 to 889 in 2013
- Abundance of Violets increased and negative indicators (sward height and grass and bramble cover) declined.
- Other species such as Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Common Twayblade, Parasol mushroom and Dotted Bee-fly have benefited.
The project demonstrates excellent partnership working between the voluntary environmental sector through the local LBAP group, Natural Resources Wales, local authorities, landowners and commoners. The High Brown Fritillary population in the Alun Valley has now been secured and the project has been relatively inexpensive: roughly £6k per annum (£58k in nine years) matched with over 35 volunteer days per year (345 volunteer days in total).
The project also featured in Butterfly Conservation 2012 report ‘Landscape-scale conservation for butterflies and moths: Lessons from the UK’ Annual grant reports are available on BARS.