Back to blog listings


Kent Wildlife Trust’s Logo puts on a good show!

Posted: Thursday 7th September 2017 by KentWildlifeStaff

Adonis blue butterfly, photo by Emily NeighbourAdonis blue butterfly, photo by Emily Neighbour

Kent Wildlife Trust volunteer Emily Neighbour shares her experience joining a guided walk at our Old Park Hill nature reserve with our Hill at the Heart Project Officer.

As a new resident of the Dover area I attended this guided walk around one of Kent Wildlife Trust’s newest nature reserves, led by the Outreach Officer for the site, Lizzie Talbot. It was organised to showcase what the Trust has already achieved in restoring this beautiful area of chalk grassland on Dover’s doorstep. Most of those attending were locals who were already familiar with the reserve and had come along to find out more.

Lizzie led the walk up the hill from the Monk’s Way entrance, through the southern part of this 40 ha site.

The timing of the event was fortunate because, after passing through the woodland area where good views were had of a Speckled Wood butterfly, we emerged into the chalk grassland just as the sun was coming out. Butterflies are more active at higher temperatures, and mostly only fly when the sun is out. The first species seen were Common and Holly Blues, followed by a Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Large and Small Whites, a Small Copper and a Red Admiral.

But the most spectacular of all were the four Adonis Blues seen basking on grassland alongside the footpath, providing excellent views for all those present. These beautiful turquoise blue butterflies with black and white chequered wing margins are rare in the UK, confined to chalk grassland in Southern England. This is why they were chosen as the logo of Kent Wildlife Trust, and were clearly identifiable to all from Lizzie’s polo shirt!

Male Migrant Hawker © Emily NeighbourLizzie had explained that the Adonis butterfly only lives in grassland containing its caterpillar’s food-plant, Horseshoe Vetch, and it was while showing that to us that she spotted the first one perched next to it!
She also pointed out Marjoram flowers (oregano), Scabious and St John’s Wort. Other insects observed in the grassland were a Bush Cricket and a male Migrant Hawker dragonfly.

One local man, Terry, volunteers regularly on the site, helping to keep it clean and tidy. He came along with his daughter and grandson and commented at the end of the walk how good it was to learn more about what all his hard work is for and to see the benefits to the wildlife.

The Hill at the Heart Project is a three-year project, led by Kent Wildlife Trust, which aims to restore species-rich chalk grassland and promote responsible use of the Old Park Hill nature reserve by engaging with the local communities. The project started in January 2016 and is funded by the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities.

For this event we accessed the reserve via the Monks Way Car Park entrance, off Weaver’s Way, Old Park Hill Nature Reserve, Dover CT16 2 DL.


For more information about the site please visit http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/reserves/old-park-hill

For more information about future events, or to find out more about the project, please contact Lizzie Talbot on Lizzie.Talbot@kentwildlife.org.uk 07 799 750 531

www.facebook.com/OldParkHill
 

Read KentWildlifeStaff's latest blog entries.