Boost to aid Chalkhill Blue butterfly at Durlston Country Park

Dorset Echo: CASH BOOST: Chalkhill Blue butterfly CASH BOOST: Chalkhill Blue butterfly

DURLSTON Country Park has secured almost £10,000 of funding to help reverse the decline of a “much loved jewel of the grasslands”.

The Chalkhill Blue butterfly has increasingly become a rare sight at the national nature reserve near Swanage, which is owned and managed by Dorset County Council.

Conservationists hope the £9,700, provided by the SITA Trust's Enriching Nature Programme, will help bankroll a project to restore grasslands, the natural habitat of the Chalkhill Blue.

Park ranger Simon Breeze, inset, explained: “Durlston is a magical place for butterflies with the reserve one of the best places in the country for seeing a wide range of species.

“We have been very concerned to see the sad decline of the once abundant Chalkhill Blue.

“However, thanks to funding by the SITA Trust we will be able to restore areas across Durlston to help out this much-loved jewel of the grasslands.”

The conservation project will initially focus on the removal of scrub which has encroached across the rich limestone grasslands in recent years.

The hope is that this will promote more areas of the Chalkhill Blue’s preferred habitat, which includes south-facing grassland slopes rich in the caterpillar's food plant, Horseshoe Vetch.

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