Rare colony of heart moths sighted on National Trust site

Press release
Heart moth sighted at Harewoods
Published : 04 Jul 2018

A recent moth survey carried out on the National Trust’s Harewood Estate near Outwood in Surrey has brought to light the existence of a rare colony of heart moths.

The project to monitor the abundance of heart moths was led by the charity, Butterfly Conservation, who carried out the survey close to where they were last recorded back in 2009.

The number of heart moths has severely declined in recent years due to a reduction in the number of mature oaks which they require to survive. The heart moth used to be widely recorded in south east England, but recently it has only been recorded on a small number of sites in Surrey, Berkshire and Northhamptonshire. With the recording at Harewoods understood to be one of the first sightings of the heart moth this year in the United Kingdom.

Mark Richards, Lead Ranger at Harewoods, said: "The great news is that looking at the numbers recorded in this one survey it would appear there is potentially a strong colony on the estate."

"The location where the heart moths were recorded in included a field on the Harewoods Estate that the National Trust took back in hand to manage ten years ago. Returning it to a wild pasture habitat including an area with mature open grown oaks, creating the perfect habitat for the heart moth."

The Harewoods Estate is a National Trust property comprising of over 2,000 acres of land made up of; leased farmland, woodland, common land and ponds. Containing numerous open grown mature oaks where the branches have been allowed to grow naturally and create a full-sized canopy. These oaks are of high conservation importance and not only the perfect habitat for supporting heart moths but also many other important species.

As part of our LON (Land, Outdoors and Nature) strategy we are looking at ways of working with our tenant farmers to ensure that mature oaks within the farmland, hedgerows and field boundaries are cared for in such a manner that they continue to provide this perfect habitat.