Butterfly Haven – Restoration

Cotswold Voluntary Wardens Work Party

Recently a group of Avon Valley Cotswold Voluntary Wardens descended on Box Lower Common to commence scrub clearance and path restoration.
Under the guidance of the District Chairman, Richard Wilson, the ‘Team’ commenced the cutting back and removal of the scrub invasion that is one of the worst enemies to the plant ’Horseshoe Vetch’. Following a detailed briefing on the necessity not to damage any of the numerous anthills the work commenced.
Box Lower Common is one of the few local sites where Horseshoe Vetch grows and on which the Chalkhill Blue butterfly lay their eggs. The eggs overwinter there or on the ground nearby.
Around March, the eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the Horseshoe Vetch, it is their sole food plant. The larvae are tended by ants, which are attracted by sweet secretions produced by special glands on the grubs. The ants may bury the larvae in daytime and then the larvae emerge at dusk to feed often accompanied by ants. The butterfly pupae are often taken into the ant’s nests.
It is estimated the work parties cleared an overall area of 960 sq. metres of grass and scrub as well as widening the path up to the Quarryman’s Arms car park, about 25 metres in length.
Rose Case, Box Hill Parish Councillor, said, “I have been down and looked at the area you have cleared and it looks great. I wish to thank you and the other volunteers on behalf of Box Parish Council”.
The Box Hill Common area clearance is one example of the work undertaken by the Avon District Voluntary Wardens. Working Parties can often be seen working in our area repairing and restoring dry stonewalls, maintaining the labyrinth of paths and by-ways, coppicing woodland and planting trees. Meanwhile, monthly-guided walks are lead by the Wardens such as the Tuesday Tramp out of Colerne.
Avon Valley is one of five districts that make up the Cotswolds AONB. The 400 strong group are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2018, marking half a century of dedication to the landscape and wildlife of the wonderful Cotswold countryside.
The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens are keen to recruit new members to continue this valuable work. For more information please take a look at the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty website at

Barry Cox
Avon Valley District

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