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New habitat to help rare butterflies on the Oxford Canal

The Warwickshire branch of the Butterfly Conservation Society have seized an opportunity to improve the habitat for rare butterflies in Fenny Compton by adopting a stretch of the Oxford Canal.

We're offering communities across England & Wales the opportunity to adopt mile-long lengths of canal or river to help transform some of our 2,000 miles of waterways into the places you want to escape to.

The group of butterfly enthusiasts is keen to transform a stretch of the Oxford Canal to increase the numbers of butterflies in the area such as the Grizzled Skipper, Small Blue and the Dingy Skipper. Set up in early August, the group will be cutting back over-grown vegetation to encourage certain butterfly friendly plants to grow and creating a ‘butterfly bund' covered in colourful plants which offer egg laying opportunities. The volunteers will also be clearing any litter and tidying up the vegetation along the towpath.

Mike Slater, volunteer conservation officer for the Warwickshire branch of the Butterfly Conservation, explains the motivation for joining the adoption scheme: “The stretch of canal in Fenny Compton is one which our group often visits as the habitat is a perfect home for a number of rare butterflies. We know that if we put the effort into improving their habitat, we'll be able to see an increase in numbers while also making the area nicer for visitors to enjoy.”

A good biological indicator

Penny Foster, ecologist for the Canal & River Trust said: “It's great news for us that the Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire branch has decided to join our community adoption scheme. Their expertise in caring for butterfly rich habitats is fantastic and I'm looking forward to seeing how their attention on this stretch of canal will help rare butterflies such as the Grizzled Skipper thrive.

"Butterflies are also a good biological indicator in general which will help inform our work in the area around habitat development. Canals have had an incredible history over the last 250 years and the growing support from local groups adopting stretches of canal is invaluable to the Trust to keep them thriving."

Local communities are central to being able to care for canals around England and Wales and we hope to work closer with local communities to improve the fantastic leisure space the canals offer, help grow people's pride in their waterways and bring the canals closer to the heart of the community.

Last Edited: 24 August 2015

photo of a location on the canals
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