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Marsh fritillary butterfly at Welshmoor in North Gower, South Wales
Marsh fritillary butterfly at Welshmoor, North Gower | © National Trust / Mark Hipkin

North Gower butterfly walk

Walk through Welshmoor, a hidden paradise for wildlife. Over the years, within this protected area, more than 25 different species of butterflies have been seen. It's one of the most reliable locations in Europe to see the very rare marsh fritillary and the more common, but equally stunning, green hairstreak butterfly.

Butterfly-spotting tips

Weather conditions play a very big part in the chances of seeing butterflies. Sunny warm days with little or no wind are ideal when planning to visit. Timing is important for species such as the marsh fritillary which have very short flying seasons. More information on timing can be found within each step.

Total steps: 5

Total steps: 5

Start point

Welshmoor car park. Grid reference: SS51924

Step 1

Starting at the parking area walk 100m south to the edge of the moor where the trees mark the boundary. Search along the edge of the trees and scrub for passing butterflies.

Step 2

Walk away from the boundary in an east-northeast direction into the moor for roughly 100m. This area is a marsh fritillary hotspot.

Step 3

Next walk in an east-southeast direction for 150m towards the edge of the moor again. Look out for a clearing that runs behind a thin line of trees. This is a green hairstreak hotspot.

Green hairstreak butterfly on a fern at Welshmoor in North Gower, South Wales
Green hairstreak butterfly at Welshmoor, North Gower | © National Trust / Mark Hipkin

Step 4

From the clearing, walk in a north-east direction for 125m until it starts to become quite wet underfoot on approach to a runnel. Marsh thistle, a pollinators best friend, is found here.

Step 5

Next walk north for 50m to the top of a ridge. This track runs east to west through the moor. Following the track west for 375m will take you back to the parking area.

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth in the South West.
Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth | © National Trust Images/Phil Bruss

End point

Welshmoor car park. Grid reference: SS515924

Trail map

North Gower butterfly walk map, South Wales
North Gower butterfly walk map, South Wales | © National Trust

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We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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