A CONSERVATION team from Weymouth has just finished its Lottery-funded project in style.

The Butterfly Conservation volunteers spent six weeks snipping, sawing and burning up unwanted scrubby bushes on the nature reserve at Broadcroft Quarry in order to improve the habitats for butterflies and moths.

The Isle of Portland is home to many rare types of wildlife including several butterflies and moths, but the species-rich grassland of the cliffs and the former quarries is threatened by the invasion of unwanted scrub including hawthorn, cotoneaster and bramble.

One of the butterflies for which Portland is renowned is the rare limestone form of the Silver-studded Blue – the group worked with a digger to scrape off the surface on part of the reserve to create the bare-ground habitat that this particular butterfly needs to survive.

This project was funded through the Awards for All strand of the Big Lottery and provided the volunteers with training and job satisfaction while also improving the Portland habitats.

Nigel Spring, volunteer co-ordinator for butterfly conservation, said that he was very pleased with the results.

He said: “The Portland weather was very kind to us so we managed to achieve everything we had hoped for and had a great deal of fun at the same time. We are very hopeful the prospects of our threatened butterflies and moths will be hugely boosted by this work, especially with the help of this early summer.”

Butterfly Conservation is holding a public event at Broadcroft Quarry over the weekend of July 2-3 to show visitors some of the butterflies and moths there.

To reward all their hard work, the volunteers were treated to a day at Abbotsbury Swannery to see the hatching swans and to enjoy lunch at the restaurant.

The group saw one of the first cygnets to hatch and several other species of waterfowl, and got to help during feeding time.