Where to see butterflies in the South West

Hunting for butterflies

You can't beat butterflying. It takes you into the heartland of our best landscapes in the South West at the peak of their summer beauty.

Here in the South West you can see 51 of the 59 annual British species of butterfly, and it's great for immigrant butterflies too - making it the richest region in the country for butterfly wealth. The mysterious Large Blue and diminutive Lulworth Skipper can only be seen here.

The rich coastal habitats of cliffs, combes and sand dunes, as well as downs, moors and meadows, are all excellent for butterfly hunters.

Top butterfly spots
A white admiral butterfly

Ashclyst Forest 

Ashclyst Forset, on the Killerton estate near Exeter, is teeming with wildlife including over 30 species of butterfly.

Silver-washed fritillary

Silver Washed Fritillaries at Buckland

The Silver Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) is a large and graceful butterfly found in woodland during high summer.

Adonis Blue butterfly

Calstone Coombes 

This chalk downland in north Wiltshire is off the beaten track, and home to numerous species of butterfly including the Adonis Blue.
An escaped piece of paradise where you get butterfly payback in spades.

Large Blue butterfly

Collard Hill  

Near Glastonbury Tor and the Polden Hills in Somerset, Collard Hill presents a unique butterflying opportunity. It's the only place in Britain where you can see the once-extinct Large Blue. This walk will give you all the help you need to spot this vivid, rare butterfly.

Red admiral

Butterflies fluttering at Cotehele

Once a week between April and September, the rangers at Cotehele walk around the garden and estate measuring the health of the butterfly population.

a close-up of a colourful butterfly resting on a flower at Glendurgan

Brilliant butterflies at Glendurgan

The garden is a haven for wildlife in the summer months. Look out for lots of colourful butterflies as you walk down the valley. What will you spot on your visit?

High Brown Fritillary Heddon Valley

Butterfly conservation

Heddon Valley is home to one of the UK's rarest butterflies, the high brown fritillary. Throughout June and July look out for them on the valley side where they might be basking in the sun.

Male silver-washed fritillary

Webbers Post 

A walk from Webbers Post on Exmoor takes you into the national stronghold of the very rare Heath Fritillary. It can be found in sunny, sheltered, heathland combes.

Grayling butterfly

West Penwith 

The cliffs and sea coombes of this area as well as the Lizard, North Cornwall and South Devon offer abundant butterfly walking with colonies of Grayling, Dark Green and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries.