Our limestone hills in Arnside and Silverdale are the most important areas for butterflies in Northern England. This is quite a claim but the coastal climate, limestone pavement and grassland and all the varied woodland all help make this an area rich in wildlife.
Walk around Arnside Knott or Jack Scout in the summer and see our rangers and volunteers walking their butterfly transect routes – surveying all the species on one particular day. Their records show us that we have 32 species of butterfly across our sites – over 50% of all the butterflies in the UK.
Each butterfly needs the right conditions to flourish. For some it’s shelter, light and warmth, some are affected by the height of plants and others prefer cooler, damper ground. So, getting the conditions right in one place for all the different species is quite a juggling act.
The caterpillars of each butterfly need the right food plants to feed on – so for example the dark green fritillary and high brown fritillary caterpillars love the violets which are encouraged by coppicing and scrub clearance and can be seen in flower throughout the spring on Jack Scout, Arnside Knott and Eaves Wood.
The different species of butterfly you can see are;
Dark Green Fritillary
High Brown Fritillary
Northern Brown Argus
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
If you want to spot butterflies, the best time to see them in summer time is on a sunny day, with little wind when the temperature is above 14 degrees.