2 Nature Reserves in the Epping Forest district are at the centre of a Butterfly Census carried out by our Epping Forest Countrycare team over several years.
The Bobbingworth Nature Reserve and Church Lane Local Nature Reserve found of the 59 species of butterflies present in the UK, 27 have been identified across our 2 sites. Of these, 1 is listed as likely to be threatened in the near future:
Church Lane flood meadow was created in 1989 as part of the North Weald Flood Alleviation Scheme while Bobbingworth Nature Reserve is a former Landfill site, which in 1989/90 was capped with clean clay.
Butterfly Monitoring Scheme
Since 2015 Countrycare has been conducting the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS) at these 2 sites between April and September when butterflies are more likely to be active.
Year-on-year, Church Lane records a greater population of butterflies – 2017 being its best year with a total count of 1,756. In comparison. 2018 was the most successful year for Bobbingworth with a total of 927.
The Meadow Brown is the most abundant species on each both sites while Church Lane has recorded the Large Skipper every year since the survey began. There are healthy positive trends evident in the White family, with both sites showing increases in population.
Valuable members of the ecosystem
Butterflies have become extremely valuable members of the ecosystem. Butterflies and moths within a habitat shows it is healthy and indicates presence of a wider range of invertebrates. This in turn provides a range of environmental benefits including natural pest control, pollination and contributions to the food chain.