Brilliant Butterflies was awarded £1 million of funding as a Dream Fund 2019 winner, thanks to the support of Players of People's Postcode Lottery.
As a Nature Reserves Assistant for London Wildlife Trust’s Brilliant Butterflies project, I have been lucky enough to spend much of my time in some of South Croydon and Bromley’s most beautiful, and nature-rich, urban greenspaces. As part of a team that includes members from our partner organisations, the Natural History Museum and Butterfly Conservation as well as community groups and local volunteers, we have been creating a ‘Living Landscape’ of chalk grassland, alive with butterflies and other wildlife.
Along with our fantastic volunteers, until recently we have been very busy out and about on the London Wildlife Trust nature reserves included in this project. Working predominantly in chalky soil meadows our team have spent many hours over the winter removing scrubby growth as the chalk grassland plants rely on short turf, free from shrubs and small trees. Luckily for us, we also get help with this task on some of our sites from the Downlands Partnership and their amazing, grazing sheep. The sheep’s constant nibbling helps to combat scrub growth, keep grass short and visitors are always excited to encounter London’s ‘living-lawnmowers’! This combination of human and livestock intervention allows wildflowers, such as kidney vetch and greater yellow rattle, to thrive and consequently attracts grassland butterflies such as marbled whites and the nationally scarce, small blue.