Managing Meadows for Butterflies

Herefordshire Meadows Group had the opportunity to be guided round Ewyas Harold Butterfly Conservation Reserve by Lucy Morton, Reserve Officer on a sunny day this week .  The diversity and abundance of different plants on the reserve was a sight to behold. We were rewarded with insects on the wing including marbled white, common blue, meadow brown and ringlet plus day flying and 6 spot burnet moths and golden ringed dragonfly. The Group discussed how the management of the sward, weeds and scrub all contributes to making this valuable habitat for butterflies.  Butterflies including small pearl bordered fritillary and dark green fritillary that breed on violet, grass, bracken mosaic on the the adjacent Common also use these meadows as a nectar source.

The compromise between weed control and allowing thistle to flower as a nectar source was debated and methods of managing a very late hay cut or cut and collect operation was discussed

See the resources sheet Managing Meadows for Butterflies for further help on butterfly ID, habitat management, local butterfly groups, Dashel Bashers and Lazy Dog tools to help control weeds in late hay crops.