Making Space for Butterflies in Mendip
Anyone who is a regular visitor to our Mendip Reserves, and the wider Mendip countryside will know that they are fabulous places to see an incredible variety of butterflies, including some of the country’s most rare such as the green-winged valezina form of the Silver-washed fritillary.
The Making Space for Butterflies in Mendip project, kindly funded through Aggregate Industries’ Local Partnership Fund, aims to restore and enhance woodland and grassland habitat in both East and West Mendip on AI land to ensure that these very special places continue to provide high quality breeding habitats and rich food sources for all our butterfly populations to survive and thrive.
The project will enhance and encourage diversity at our Cheddar Wood Nature Reserve through coppicing and fencing works. In the East, wildlflower grassland restoration on four AI-owned fields will enable the reintroduction of livestock grazing to prevent scrub encroachment and encourage further plant and insect variety. The project will also include volunteer coppicing days and hedgelaying workshops, encouraging both local people and AI staff to learn and benefit from the landscape whilst carrying out important restoration work, ultimately strengthening the important, two-way, relationship between nature and community.
The four hedgelaying workshops will be held on: Saturday 9th February (FULLY BOOKED), Saturday 19th October, Sunday 17th November, and Sunday 15th December, in Downhead, East Mendip, and are open to landowners and volunteers who live in the Mendip area and wish to learn this traditional skill.
Please check our events pages nearer the time for details.
We hope to promote the management of thick, dense hedgerows in the Mendip landscape that can help provide pollen and nectar, shelter and habitat corridors for a number of butterflies and invertebrates, as well as important habitat for mammals, birds and wildflowers. Hedgelaying can be a lot of fun and good for the soul. We hope participants will come away from the day with the skills and inclination to continue to lay more hedgerows in Mendip in future!
Work kindly funded through Aggregate Industries' Local Partnership Fund
Images: Meadow - Matt Sweeting, Small Blue - Heath McDonald, Silver-washed Fritillary - Don Sutherland, F. valesina form of Silver Washed Fritillary - Ron Westmaas