Giant butterflies emerge on Denbies Hillside

Iain Crafer working on the butterfly sculpture

Step out on a bright, summer’s day and you’ll find lots of insects and butterflies hovering over our hillside. One of our favourites is the rare adonis blue butterfly, which thrives on the chalk downland and can be seen flying low over our short, grazed turf.

Spot our giant butterflies

Last winter some very rare giant butterflies emerged in our ranger’s workshop at Westcott - a dramatic butterfly sculpture, created by local Abinger artist-sculptor, Iain Hamilton Crafer. Iain is also a National Trust volunteer.

We asked Iain to create a sculpture that depicted various elements in the life of the adonis blue butterfly and also its habitat, our beautiful hillside. The sculpture is carved from a 2 tonne piece of felled oak, from Bookham Commons, and Iain has used mostly traditional tools.

Iain worked on the sculpture in our workshop for eight months and then finished it at Polesden Lacey (over four months), where you may have seen him chiselling away. The giant butterflies have now been placed (15 May) near the old Carriage Road and you can see them on our Circular trail. Stop and admire this amazing piece of art – feel the old oak timber and the chiselled beautiful butterflies.

A few adonis blue facts

  • May is when the first brood of adonis blue butterflies hatchThe males have brilliant sky-blue wings and the females are brown (far less conspicuous). Both have black lines near the white fringes of their wings
  • Their wing span is around 38mm
  • Their caterpillars only eat horseshoe vetch, which grows on Denbies

For further information about Iain’s work, please drop him an email or phone 01306 731855.

Butterfly sculpture Denbies Hillside
Butterfly sculpture Denbies Hillside Surrey
Butterfly sculpture Denbies Hillside