Our rangers recommend...
The ranger team share their top tips for exploring the Skyline each month.
This month, I recommend a leisurely stroll through fantastic calcareous grassland, Rainbow Wood Fields. We have a new volunteer team this year which is monitoring butterflies across the Bath Skyline and this is one of the best sites. On a survey recently I saw over 80 meadow brown butterflies and lots of skippers, marbled white, speckled wood, ringlet, common blue and painted ladies.
This site also has lots of yellow meadow ant hills which helps to improve the wildflower diversity here by disturbing the ground and allowing room for different seeds to grow. Birds-foot trefoil and knapweed are popular nectar sources and a range of herbs and grasses are used as the food plant of many caterpillars.
The more you watch these insects, the more you notice which plants each species like to land on, how their flights differ and how much sunlight each species like. Speckled woods, for example, enjoy dappled light so are often found on field edges bordered by woodland as well as woodland glades.
No specialist knowledge is needed to enjoy the beautiful sight of butterflies in flight.
You'll find Rainbow Wood Fields just off the path after point 9 on the Bath Skyline map.