Thursday, 15 September 2011

Heath Fritillary butterflies found on new site!

We are pleased to report that two more sites on the Dunster estate have been found to be home to healthy populations of the endangered Heath Fritillary butterfly. Rodhuish common and Black Hill, which are managed by one of our tenant farmers, Malcolm Westcott, have both been found to support very healthy populations of this iconic species.

This is especially pleasing as nationally the species is under real pressure, but here at Dunster it seems that we are able to buck the trend and even add new populations. We hope that ongoing coppice management in Withycombe Scruffets native oak woodland, next to one of the sites, will encourage this butterfly, also known as the 'Woodsman's Follwer' back into the wood, as would have been the case up until the end of the first world war, when widespread coppicing ceased across Exmoor.

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