Surrey Wildlife Trust is celebrating an abundance of butterflies on the wing at Broadstreet Common, near Guildford, this year following wildflower reseeding and management to enhance diversity. The Trust is encouraging people to visit the wildflower meadow in full bloom to enjoy walking among fluttering butterflies and a sea of wildflowers.
While skylarks fly overhead and the chirrup of crickets create a hypnotic hum, these wildflower meadows have come alive this summer and offer a wonderful opportunity to go butterfly and wildflower spotting. Among the flowers are a mass of bright pink Knapweed, pretty yellow Tormentil, white Sneezewort, Meadow vetchling and yellow Birds-foot trefoil.
Every year from June to September when the wildflowers are in bloom it attracts a kaleidoscope of butterflies. On a sunny day in July over 600 Marbled White butterflies were spotted in less than 45 minutes. The actual population is likely to be far larger. Painted lady, Speckled wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow brown, Red admiral, Large skipper, Small skipper, Brimstone, Common blue, Holly blue and Small copper butterflies have all been spotted at the common.
In 2006 Surrey Wildlife Trust removed turf in one metre squares and sowed native wildflower seed of local provenance. In 2008 and 2009 the meadow was cut, the cuttings were removed and a further native wild flower seed mix of local provenance was sowed to increase biodiversity at Broadstreet Common.
Katy Fielding, liaison officer at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said:
“I’ve never seen butterflies and wildflower meadows like this before in Surrey. It’s my new favourite place. When we visited with Natural England at the beginning of July, we were all blown away by the quality of wildflowers and invertebrate life - namely butterflies and crickets.
“These wildflower meadows are the highlight of the summer season, just as bluebells are the star attraction in spring. There are so many butterflies to spot, it’s even better than visiting a butterfly house, because it’s outdoors in nature and free of charge.”
It’s a perfect place to visit for anyone interested in getting closer to nature and learning about new wildlife species.
To help with identifying the flora and fauna it’s fun to try out the Seek app, presented by Our Planet and WWF.
The wildflower meadows are accessed at the Gravetts Road entrance. Broadstreet Common is part of the Surrey County Council Countryside Estate which is managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust.