From bloodthirsty vegetation to sneezing songbirds, Devon is home to some surprisingly unusual plants and animals. We bring you our favourites...
You might not know it but today sees the national Butterfly Education and Awareness Day (BEAD). Now it might be one of the lesser known events in the national wildlife calendar, but that doesn’t make it any less important, after all a 2011 report run by Butterfly Conservation found that just under three quarters of the UK’s butterfly species have “decreased in abundance” and that butterflies remain one of the UK’s most threatened wildlife groups. So in order to do our bit for BEAD we’ve decided to put together some information on butterflies in the UK, with some great places to go to find them and even some pointers on what you can do to lend a hand to the cause.
Sadly, thanks to their recent decline, butterflies are a bit harder to come by out in the great outdoors. However, there are still a few areas where you can go to catch a glimpse of them. You could pay a visit to Arnside Knott in Cumbria, known for hosting to some of the UK’s best species such as the Scotch Argus and Grayling, or there’s also the Caedari Butterfly Reserve in Herefordshire which is the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of the beautiful pearl-bordered Fritillary.
Alternatively you could plan a trip to somewhere like the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm. With hundreds of the world’s most beautiful species of butterflies as well as countless types of creepy crawlies, not to mention some great educational activities for the little ones, it’s definitely worth a visit. Or there’s also Pili Palas, Anglesey’s top family attraction. With one of the UK’s premier butterfly collections, plenty of cute animals (including John, Paul, George and Ringo the meerkats), and even an adventure playground for the kids to burn off a little bit of excess energy, you’re sure to have a good time. Just remember to check out our Stratford-upon-Avon and Anglesey holiday cottages for a home away from home on these trips!
Luckily there are still plenty of things that everybody can to help out Britain’s butterflies. One of the major contributors to their decline is the disappearance of their natural habitat, so why don’t you give them a little hand? It’s a lot easier than you would think to make a butterfly haven in your own garden, all you need to remember is to get plenty of flowers for the nectar. A good variety of suitable plants that flower throughout the butterfly season (from March until October-November time) would be perfect, and you can also leave out any over-ripe fruit that you might have lying around the house for the Red Admirals and Painted Ladies to tuck into; they’re particularly keen on pears, plums and apples. Or, if you fancy you could always try breeding your own butterflies, it’s relatively straightforward and when they’re fully grown you can release them into the wild to help bolster the dwindling population.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this and you might even be doing something in honour of BEAD. If that’s case, or even if you have any suggestions on what others can do to help, we’d love to hear from you. Or maybe you’ve got some great snaps of butterflies lying around the house, if so feel free to send them in over Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to see them!