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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

picture of butterfly spotter guide

Butterflies of down and meadow - spotter guide 

Which butterflies will you see flitting amongst the wildflowers on chalk downland? To help you identify the rare and common species, print off the pdf, fold in half lengthways, then concertina-fold to create a handy, palm-sized guide to take on your walk.

Other places to spot butterflies

silver studded blue butterfly

How we look after butterflies 

Butterflies are the diva of the insect world. They have the showiest outfits and they can also be incredibly picky about their food and lodgings. Find out how our rangers cater to their whims.