Butterflies, bees and blooms at Hughenden

Stroll through the parkland and discover butterfly habitats, learn about Hughenden’s apiary or simply take a seat and enjoy the glorious gardens in full bloom. Join the garden and countryside teams in celebrating early summer with talks, walks and events that showcase the best of June. From Mon 4 June – Fri 29 June

Butterflies abound

In the Chiltern Hills around Hughenden are some very special places cared for by the National Trust where butterflies abound.

June is the perfect time to go in search of these exquisite creatures and our Chilterns Countryside rangers are running a series of guided walks at some of our best sites for butterfly spotting. You can find out about the wildlife in the woodlands at Hughenden, the secrets of the grassland at Coombe Hill and the work that has been done to encourage butterflies at Bradenham.

Our rare chalk grassland meadows and woodland habitats are carefully managed to provide the ideal conditions for these endangered insects. Grazing animals help to keep scrub vegetation down, encouraging the grasses and sun-loving wild flowers butterflies need to thrive. Some species enjoy the summer shade of the woodlands, feeding on flowering plants such as ivy and wood sorrel.

Pick up a Butterfly Spotter sheet from the Visitor Welcome kiosk when you visit Hughenden to discover more.

All about bees

Early spring flowers and the local fields of bright yellow oil seed rape are a valuable form of forage as Hughenden’s bees get active again after their winter slowdown. With four gardens and formal parkland, all managed with beneficial insects in mind, the Hughenden estate is a wildlife haven.

Our resident volunteer beekeepers are running events throughout June to talk about their work and reveal the wonderful world of bees. You can see a hive up close, try out the specialist equipment such as honey extractors and smokers and purchase hive products including beeswax candles and honey to take home.

Gardens in bloom

In the formal garden, the parterre display echoes the Royal Gifts exhibition in the Manor with a celebration of Queen Victoria. The bedding displays are laid out to reflect the royal standard with salvias and marigolds in bright reds, gold and blue.

The walled garden with dramatic herbaceous borders, vegetable plots and cherry and apple orchards offer a pretty spot for a sit down to soak up the June sun and enjoy the displays. They’re also favourite spots for the butterflies and bees too.

Our garden guides are on hand to share the secrets of Hughenden’s gardens and to point out the best spots for the early summer blooms. Take the chance to chat to the propagation teams in the glasshouses and find out more about the work that goes on to create the stunning displays.

Making your garden bee and butterfly friendly

A mix of large and small flowering plants and shrubs are prefect for attracting butterflies and bees. Nectar-rich flowers such as buddleia, lavender, scabious, pansy and aubrietia will turn even the smallest plot into a haven for butterflies and bees. Our beekeepers have a bee-friendly plant list that you can pick up from their stand and are happy to give advice and tips on the best mix of plants for your plot.