Shugborough's springtime wildlife
Spring sees the emerging of new life at Shugborough.
The Sherbrook Valley is one of the most important breeding sites in Staffordshire for the threatened small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly. We are lucky enough to care for a key part of this valley, which is a vital stronghold for the species. Beyond Staffordshire, the next population can be found in west Shropshire, making this colony incredibly important.
Acting on advice from Natural England and Butterfly Conservation, we have already been caring for this threatened species by clearing invasive scrub, and opening up a wider habitat by creating gaps between trees.
Part of this important conservation work means that existing fence lines will be replaced around our border of Sherbrook Valley, and a new fence line will be erected around the habitat of the butterfly. Access points for current users of the valley will be maintained and the fence design has considered the safety of the deer population in Cannock Chase.
In order to maintain the habitat for the small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly, which emerges in late May, we will be introducing low level grazing with English longhorn cows from March 2019. Longhorns are a native breed to the estate and have been on the land for hundreds of years. Grazing will take place for a couple of months in the early spring and/or autumn, leaving April to August free for the thriving butterfly species.
As well as rare butterflies, Shugborough is home to 7 species of Bats including the common and soprano pipistrelle, noctule and brown long-eared ; the old trees in the woodland and parkland, as well as the old buildings, provide numerous nesting and roosting sites, and the grassland, rivers and wet woodland attract the insects that provide their food.
Between late October and early March bats are hibernating, and when the temperature rises you may spot them coming out of hibernation to find food.
The noctule, soprano pipistrelle and brown long-eared are all identified as threatened species. So, our ranger team are carefully managing our Parkland to make sure that we have enough suitable habitats and areas that provide food for these special creatures.
It is thanks to your support through your visits and memberships that we are able to care for these magnificent animals on our Estate.