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News article created on 24 June 2016

Volunteers boost rare butterflies along Oxford Canal

There has been a 500% increase in sightings of the Grizzled Skipper butterfly along the Oxford Canal, thanks to the efforts of volunteers from the Warwickshire Branch of Butterfly Conservation over the last three years.

Butterfly conservation volunteers Butterfly conservation volunteers

The Grizzled Skipper is becoming increasingly rare across England & Wales but, along the Oxford Canal at Fenny Compton, this brown and white chequered insect is thriving.

Frequently spotted species of butterflies such as the Common Blue, Essex Skipper and Green-veined White can also be seen fluttering along hedgerows and feeding on flowers.

Butterfly haven

The volunteers are working in partnership with the Trust to improve butterfly habitats along the canal and have cleared a 600 metre stretch of scrubland alongside the towpath to create a butterfly haven. 

To encourage butterflies to the area various butterfly loving plants such as Cinquefoil and Kidney Vetch as well as wild strawberries have been planted and the area has been cleared of brambles and nettles.

Volunteers done an amazing job

Penny Foster, ecologist with the Trust, said: "The volunteers have done an amazing job and it is such a delight to see all these butterflies enjoying life alongside the canal. Before the volunteers from Butterfly Conservation got started the site was massively overgrown and the work they've done has absolutely transformed the area. Clearly the butterflies love it too."

Mike Slater, from Butterfly Conservation, Warwickshire Branch, said: "These results are really encouraging and shows that with a little bit of care and attention nature will discover the little havens you create.

"We had a big job on our hands clearing away all the brambles and bushes and we still have a fair bit of work to do but it's all worth it just to see our little colourful friends quietly fluttering around soaking up the sunshine."