Woodland rides and butterflies at Kinver Edge
By felling trees at the edges of paths, we’ve opened up new habitat for nectar-rich plants to grow in and butterflies to travel up and down. These rides are an important habitat within a managed woodland, and at Kinver Edge we will be creating more of them over the coming years
Rides are open, sunny corridors through the woodland, where we have removed taller trees to allow more light in, helping a wider variety of wildlife to flourish. At the edge of the path grow short, small plants such as grasses, herbs and flowers, which butterflies will thrive on. Reptiles also enjoy basking in these sunny spots – if you’re lucky you can spot lizards here in the summer. This short vegetation gives way to little shrubs like heather and bilberry, and then further from the path edge there are young trees that graduate into full woodland with taller, more mature trees and a shadier understory.
White admiral butterflies
At Kinver Edge our newly created woodland rides are already being populated by white admiral butterflies – a classic woodland species in the UK that has recently suffered a decline in numbers. These big butterflies can be seen from late June until early August, flying up and down ride edges under the dappled light. They lay their eggs on honeysuckle for their caterpillars to eat, and then the adults enjoy feeding on the nectar of brambles.
Looking after our rides and butterflies
Woodland rides need regular management, to stop the vegetation at the path edges reverting to full-sized trees. Every few years we fell trees at the path edges, leaving some standing as deadwood for insects and woodpeckers and giving the smaller plants room to flourish. This work is done in the autumn and winter so as not to disturb nesting birds and other wildlife, and in summer we monitor the butterflies. You can help us by letting us know if you spot any butterflies, or other wildlife in the rides on your visit – if you send us photos we can try to help you identify what you’ve seen. Or just come and enjoy a pleasant walk – the sun helps muddy ground to dry out faster and the shorter plants and flowers makes these paths feel open and airy, so as well as benefitting wildlife they are lovely to explore.