Where to see moths up close

A six spot burnet moth with its distinctive red spots resting on a pink flower

The best places to spot moths in the South East are those that are also good for butterflies. From the great chalk grassland meadows at Bradenham estate in the Chilterns to Newtown National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Wight and Cradle Valley near the River Cuckmere in East Sussex, these places are rich in wildflowers, butterflies and moths.

Like some butterflies, many moths are restricted to just one larval food plant. For instance, the six-spot burnet caterpillar feeds on bird’s foot trefoil plants. If you look carefully, you can see the papery larval cases attached to grass stems at these places.

Moth Night takes place on 14-16 June is an annual celebration of moths initiated by one of our fellow conservation charities, Butterfly Conservation. There are lots of public moth-trapping events to attend across the country and a quick internet search will bring up those near to you.

Events at our places this summer where you can get up-close with moths include:

Ivinghoe Beacon is the site of an Iron-age hill-fort and commands stunning views across the Vale of Aylesbury.

Ashridge Estate, Buckinghamshire 

There will be lots of moths to spot at our Walk the Chalk event on the weekend of 9-10 June at Ivinghoe Beacon. There’ll be a family nature trail to learn about the rare plants and wildlife on the chalk grassland and the rangers are setting up a moth trap for visitors to see their beauty up close.

Enjoy far reaching views from  the peace and shelter of Cradle Valley

Frog Firle Farm, Sussex 

Frog Firle Farm in the South Downs is holding an open day on Sunday 15 July with family crafts, games, guided walks and the chance to learn about the wildlife on the chalk grassland. The rangers are also setting up a moth trap for visitors.

A still scene in the fading autumn light at Newtown Harbour

Newtown Nature Reserve, Isle of Wight

You can find out more about the butterflies and moths at Newtown’s regular summer wildlife walks, and learn how to identify them on a ‘Things on the Wing’ ranger tour (28 & 29 July), or during Newtown’s Magnificent Meadows Weekend (7 July) in support of National Meadows Day.