Our Butterfly Reserves

 

We have four reserves in Somerset – Stoke Camp and Westbury Beacon in the Mendips, Haddon Moor on the edge of Exmoor and Mount Fancy in the Blackdown Hills. All four reserves are open to members and three also have public access.

A wide variety of butterfly and day-flying moth species can be found at each of the sites so a visit any time between April and September, in warm and preferably sunny weather from mid-morning onwards, is likely to be quite productive. However, all four reserves are very pleasant, peaceful places and even a mid-winter visit can be a good day out. 

Obviously, if you want to see a particular species like the Chalkhill Blues at Westbury Beacon or the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries at Haddon Moor then you need to go at the right season. Even then you may have to search as often butteflies confine themselves to the part of the site that holds the foodplants. So doing a bit of reading up in advance, using a field guide or Butterfly Walks in Somerset and Bristol, or referring to the Species pages on this site may help you find what you seek.    

Please try to keep to paths or to the tracks made by livestock so as to minimise damage to the vegetation. This is important because the plants may provide shelter to roosting butterflies or contain clusters of eggs of caterpillars. Sometimes these are concentrated in a small area where the foodplants are most prolific and vulnerable to trampling. Often you will get the best views by waiting by plants in flower as most butteflies come to them for nectar. Flowers like thistles and knapweeds are much favoured. 

It is always helpful if you make records of species seen and especially of their numbers and post them on this website at the end of the day. The information helps us to monitor the success of the key species and to plan management accordingly.

Please close gates behind you. At some times of year there may be cattle, ponies or sheep grazing the site by agreement with a local farmer. Their role is to keep the vegetation in the condition required by the butterflies and other important wildlife. You are welcome to take dogs with you but please keep them under close control. They may frighten or injure livestock and the Exmoor ponies may kick.

In the event that you see any problems with the site such as damage to fences or gates or a sick animal, please give the site manager a call so that we can deal with the matter. Contact details are given on the page for each site.