Butterfly walks in the South East

A butterfly dancing from blossom to blossom in a flower meadow is a standout moment in anyone’s summer walk. These colourful emblems of warmth and sunshine are our best-loved insect and we’ve been working hard to manage particular sites to benefit butterflies. From a thriving population of the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly on the chalk grasslands of Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire to an Isle of White speciality, the Glanville fritillary, on the crumbling cliff tops at Compton Bay and Downs, find a walk where you can indulge your passion for wildlife.

Purple emperor butterfly

Surrey 

A butterfly fluttering over flower-filled meadows is always a cheerful sight. Not only valuable for their beauty, they also play an important role in our ecosystems. Enjoy a stroll in the sunshine at our top Surrey butterfly spots discovering silver-washed fritillaries on the hillside at Box Hill or painted ladies along the banks of the River Wey.

Silver-washed fritillary
Walking trail

Hampshire 

Experience the magnificent beech woods and flower-filled meadows that inspired the pioneering naturalist, Gilbert White. Move from glade to glade spotting silver-washed fritillary, purple emperor, white admiral, brown argus and purple and brown hairstreaks.

Common Blue Butterfly

Isle of Wight 

Providing good habitats and being slightly warmer than mainland Britain, the Isle of Wight is an ideal place to spot butterflies. With prime butterfly sites on land that we care for, you can find places to wander from cliff tops to chalk downland in search of an Island speciality, the rare Glanville fritillary.

A black and white checkered marbled white butterfly rests on a flowerhead

Sussex 

Strike out across historic hillsides and renowned chalk and downland sites discovering the bright butterflies that are perhaps our best-loved insects. Enjoy some of our top Sussex walking trails whilst spotting chalkhill blues at Devil’s Dyke or the elusive Duke of Burgundy at Harting Down.

Green Hairstreak Butterfly

Chilterns Countryside 

Every species of butterfly has its own habitat in which it thrives. You can find several of these special places across the Chilterns Countryside where swarms of glorious butterflies abound. Wander through chalk grassland and woodland habitats which we carefully manage to provide ideal conditions for these exceptional insects.

A male Duke of Burgundy in May at Rodborough Common, Gloucestershire
Walking trail

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire 

This walk takes in all of the best butterfly habitat to be found across the Ivinghoe Hills on the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare Duke of Burgundy as well as other specialists of rough chalk downland such as the chalkhill blue, dark-green fritillaries and the marbled white.

Butterfly in the garden in the summer at Monk's House, East Sussex
Walking trail

Devil's Dyke, West Sussex 

This mile long walk over the chalk grassland at Devil's Dyke, West Sussex, is overflowing with butterflies, moths and drifts of grassland flowers. Spot the Adonis blue, chalkhill blue and green hairstreak with smaller populations of brown argus, dark-green fritillary and silver-spotted skippers.

Chalk hill blue butterfly with open wings
Walking trail

Box Hill, Surrey 

Enjoy the sweeping areas of woodland and chalk grassland paddocks on this butterfly walk at Box Hill, Surrey. This is one of the richest areas for butterflies in Britain with more than 40 species occurring annually. Look out for silver-spotted skippers, silver-washed fritillaries and the elusive purple emperor.

Marbled White Butterfly
Walking trail

Newtown National Nature Reserve, Isle of Wight 

Keeping things as natural as possible means that many different species of wild flower and grass are able to flourish. They create a perfect environment for butterflies such as the common blue, small heath, marbled white and small skipper.

Adonis blue butterfly
Walking trail

Compton Bay and Downs, Isle of Wight 

Walk the chalk ridge running through the middle of the Isle of Wight and spot wonderful butterflies on one of our best bits of chalk downland, including Adonis blue, small blue, dark-green fritillary and Glanville fritillary.