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News Grazing opportunity to help Forest of Dean butterfly

Grazing opportunity to help Forest of Dean butterfly

Local graziers are being asked to help an iconic Forest of Dean butterfly population.

An area beside Cinderford brook at Ruspidge Halt will be fenced for grazing to improve the habitat of the rare Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary butterfly. After a sharp decline the butterfly is now in danger of extinction in the Forest of Dean. The Ruspidge Halt site offers the best breeding habitat for the butterfly with careful management.

Local graziers are being invited to keep livestock at Ruspidge Halt for a short-term period during the autumn. The new area is an opportunity to graze livestock and to help secure the future of butterflies in the Forest of Dean.

The newly fenced area will be created as part of a butterfly project run by Foresters’ Forest, a Heritage Lottery Funded Programme, the Forestry Commission and Butterfly Conservation. The project aims to create or restore a network of open spaces throughout the Forest for the Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary to flourish again.

Simon Glover from Butterfly Conservation, said: “This is a new opportunity to graze livestock and to help an important Forest of Dean butterfly.

“The Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary butterfly has fallen from 40 Forest of Dean breeding sites in the 1980s to just two, one of which is at Ruspidge Halt. If you can help by grazing livestock please do get in touch with us.”

Alongside the grazing area, the improved habitat will feature areas profiled to maximise the wild flower nectar sources and caterpillar food plants.

If you are interested in grazing livestock at Ruspidge Halt, please contact Leoni Henry, Forestry Commission Community Ranger leoni.henry@forestryengland.uk
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