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!