Warmer weather in the spring provides ideal breeding conditions for sheep ticks. Please see the advisory note on page 12 of the book about how to avoid being bitten but, if you are, seek medical attention within 24 hours.
Allt Mhuic, Inverness-shire
If you are heading to Allt Mhuic, you will probably pass the Commando Memorial north of Spean Bridge. Not far away is Achnacarry House, on the isthmus between Loch Lochy and Loch Arkaig. This was a major WWII training centre for commandos. During the course of the war over 20,000 British, American, Norwegian, French, belgian and Dutch commandos used Achnacarry House as their training centre. This had been commandeered for military use with over 70 other country houses. There was an article about this is Country Life in January 2009.
At the Butterfly Conservation AGM and members' Day in November 2009, Richard Lewington astonished me by saying that I had a photo of his Dad in the book. This turned out to be the photo of the Commando Memorial (page 19). His dad was a member of No. 4 Commando who spearheaded the D-Day landing in June 1944. After the war he was the sculptor's model for one of the three commandos on the memorial plinth. Richard said his Dad and Grandad were both keen butterfly enthusiasts. In one of the contemporary histories, there is a marvellous story about "Lew" taking time out to catch a butterfly for his father's collection and the rest of the commando troop thinking he must be bonkers!
Arnside Knott, Cumbria
I visited again in 2010 and 2011 (twice). This is still one of the best butterfly sites in the whole of Britain. In late July and August you can be sure of seeing Scotch Argus (the only other site in England is Smardale Gill) and, most important, it remains one of the few reliable sites for fast declining High Brown Fritillaries (in July).
High Brown habitat at Arnside Knott
High Brown Fritillary at Arnside Knott, 2 July 2011
Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire
Still a good place to look for Silver-spotted Skippers (August). Look on the southern side of the M40 anywhere you see short grass and dwarf thistles.
Ballard Down, Dorset
Ben Lawers, Perthshire
I re-visited Ben Lawers NNR in August 2011 and was astonished to find that the Visitor Centre (with refreshments and loos) had disappeared. In their wisdom and presumably for economy, National Trust for Scotland has removed its visitor centre. Now there remain only information boards and a dispenser which sells a leaflet describing the nature trail. A great pity, particularly as this is an excellent place to see Mountain Ringlets. It remains an interesting site to visit, but take your own sandwiches.
Bentley Wood, Wiltshire
Bernwood Forest and Meadows, Buckinghamshire
Bindon Hill, Dorset
Bishop Middleham Quarry, Co. Durham
Bison Hill, Whipsnade
Bowness Common, Cumbria
Broadcroft Quarry, Isle of Portland
Broxbourne Wood, Hertfordshire
Caeau Ffos Fach, Carmarthenshire
Castle Eden Dene, Co. Durham
Catfield Fen, Norfolk
Cavenham Heath, Suffolk
Cerne Giant Hill, Dorset
Chambers Wood, Lincolnshire
Collard Hill, Somerset
Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
Creag Meagaidh, Inverness-shire
De Weerribben National Park, Holland
Denbies Hillside, Surrey
Devil's Dyke, Cambridgeshire
This is now a consistently reliable site for Chalkhill Blues (in July and August). Habitat management by members of the Cambridgeshire and Essex Branch of Butterfly Conservation has proved enormously succesful and there have been hundreds of butterflies on the wing together on the south facing slope of the Dyke close to the National Stud. In the spring, Green Hairstreaks and Dingy Skippers have been easy to find. Look for Dingy Skippers low down in the grass. Green Hairstreaks are also found in the grass but often come onto blossom on low scrub. Their hotspot in recent years has been where the Dyke crosses Burwell old railway cutting, about a mile to the west of the National Stud, on the west side of the A14 and south of Burwell village.
This is a lovely site to visit, at all times of the year, but sadly it is no longer a site where High Brown Fritillaries may be found. Probably because the site became too far from other High Brown sites for cross breeding to occur, numbers have been falling. Only two males were seen in 2009 and none at all in 2010 and 2011, so we must assume that they are extinct here now. The nationally declining number of viable High Brown sites is of great concern. The best places to see them are now Arnside Knott and Gait Barrows (see New Sites below) in South Cumbria and North Lancashire.
Durlston Country Park, Dorset
East Blean Wood, Kent
I received very enthusiastic reports about the large number of Heath Fritillaries on the wing here in 2011.
East Budleigh Common, Devon
Eyarth Rocks, Denbighshire
Fermyn Woods, Northamptonshire
This is now recognised by many people as the No 1 site for Purple Emperors in the country. Matthew Oates has spent a lot of time studying their ecology throughout England, but particularly here. He reports his findings on the Purple Empire website.
Glasdrum Wood, Argyll
Grafton Wood, Worcestershire
Great Orme's Head, Conwy
Green Down Somerset
Greenham and Crookham Common, Berkshire
Gunpowder Park, Essex
Hadleigh Castle Country Park, Essex
Haldon Forest Park, Devon
Heddon's Mouth, Devon
Hembury Woods, Dartmoor, Devon
Hockley Woods, Essex
How Hill, Norfolk
Langdale Pikes and Cold Pike, Cumbria
Langford Heathfield, Somerset
Lydford Old Railway, Devon
Lydlinch Common and Stock Wood, Dorset
Martin Down, Hampshire
Merthyr Mawr Warren, Glamorganshire
Monks Wood, Cambridgeshire
Mount Fancy Farm, Somerset
Narborough Railway Line, Norfolk
This is another site where, for unknown reasons, two species have declined. In the last few years, no Dingy or Grizzled Skippers have been seen here. The preferred areas used to be the south-west facing slope of the embankment about 1/4 mile from the entrance near Narborough village. This is particularly curious in the case of Grizzled Skippers because can be found at Foulsham Common and ... Cut-off Channel (see New Sites below), both of which are close-by.
Noar Hill, Selborne, Hampshire
Oaken Wood, Surrey
Pignal Inclosure, New Forest
Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire
Sharpenhoe Clappers, Bedfordshire
Sheringham Park, Norfolk
St Abb's Head, Berwickshire
Whitbarrow and Meathop Moss, Cumbria
Whitecross Green Wood, Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border
Wiveton Down, Norfolk
Wyre Forest, Worcestershire
Alice Holt Forest, Hampshire is described here.
Ardnamurchan Point, Argyll - to be completed
Ariundle NNR, Strontian, Argyll - to be completed
Barkbooth Lot, Cumbria - to be completed
Barnack Hills and Holes, Northamptonshire - to be completed
Beachy Head, East Sussex is described here.
Beacon Hill, Hampshire is described here.
Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire is described here.
Bookham Common, Surrey is described here.
Branscombe, Devon is described here.
Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton, Shropshire - to be completed
Claish Moss NNR, Acharacle, Argyll - to be completed
Craigavon, Co. Armagh - to be completed
Dunsdon, Devon is described here.
Fen Bog, North Yorkshire is described here.
Foulden Common, Norfolk - to be completed
Foulshaw Moss, Cumbria - to be completed
Friston Gallops, East Sussex is described here.
Gait Barrows, Lancashire - to be completed
Glen Loy, Inverness-shire is described here.
Grassington, North Yorkshire is described here.
Gun Hill, Norfolk is described here.
Holkham, Norfolk - to be completed
Holt Country Park, Norfolk - to be completed
Honister and Grey Knotts, Cumbria is described here.
Horsey Dunes, Norfolk to be completed.
Inveroran and Glen Orchy, Argyll - to be completed
Irton Fell, Cumbria - to be completed
Kelling Heath, Norfolk to be completed.
Ketton Quarry, Cambridgeshire - to be completed
Langdon Hills, Essex - to be completed
Latterbarrow, Cumbria - to be completed
Lullington Heath, East Sussex - to be completed.
Malling Down, East Sussex - to be completed.
Mark's Hall, Essex - to be completed
Mepal Fen, Cambridgeshire - to be completed
Mill Hill, West Sussex is described here.
Monkwood, Worcestershire is described here.
Mullenakill NNR, Co. Armagh - to be completed
Murlough NNR, Co. Down - to be completed
Myer's Allotment, Cumbria - to be completed
Old Winchester Hill, Hampshire is described here.
Penhale Dunes, Cornwall is described here.
Prees Heath, Shropshire is described here.
Prestbury Hill, Gloucestershire is described here.
Rannoch Moor, Perthshire - to be completed
Shipton Bellinger, Hampshire is described here.
Smardale Gill, Cumbria - to be completed.
Spurn Head, East Yorkshire - to be completed.
Steyning, West Sussex - to be completed.
Stiperstones and the Bog, Shropshire - to be completed
Stackpole Warren, Pembrokeshire - to be completed
St Non's and Nine Wells, Pembrokeshire - to be completed
Stoke Ferry Cut-off Channel, Norfolk - to be completed
Stockbridge Down, Hampshire - to be completed.
Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk is described here.
Therfield Heath, Hertfordshire - to be completed.
Totternhoe Knolls and Old Quarry, Bedfordshire is described here.
Twywell Hills and Dales, Northamptonshire is described here.
Warton Crag, Cumbria - to be completed
Waterford Heath, Hertfordshire - to be completed
Welcombe and Marsland Valleys, Devon/Cornwall border is described here.
Whixall Moss, Shropshire/Clwyd border - to be completed
Woodwalton, Cambridgeshire - to be completed.
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