3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today click here

Searching for the Silver-spotted Skipper in Shaftesbury

PUBLISHED: 10:36 19 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:36 19 August 2014

Silver-spotted Skipper by Peter Eeles

Silver-spotted Skipper by Peter Eeles


Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation is inviting families to make the most of the final weeks of summer by joining the search for one of our rarest butterflies, the Silver-spotted Skipper.

The orange and brown butterfly was close to extinction in the 1970’s, but has made a fantastic recovery over the last 30 years and is now only found in the chalk downlands of southern England, including the Fontmell Down Reserve near Shaftesbury, North Dorset.

Distinguished from other skippers by the silver spots on its underwing, this small and charismatic butterfly spends much of its time basking on warm, south-facing slopes.

A guided walk to find the Silver-spotted Skipper is taking place on Saturday 23rd August from 11am until 3.30pm. Butterfly Conservation’s Frank Cosier explained: “This is one of the last skippers to emerge and it really is a smashing little butterfly. You get them in neighbouring Wiltshire too, but they can only be found on Ministry of Defence land there, which means you need special permission to visit.”

He added: “The walk is perfect for beginners as we’ll have volunteers from the Dorset and Wiltshire Branches of Butterfly Conservation helping to identify what people see. There should be plenty of other more colourful species about too, like the Chalk Hill Blue and Adonis Blue. All you need to do is turn up with some good walking boots and a packed lunch.”

Fontmell Down is a steeply sloping area of the North Dorset Downs with far-reaching views across the Blackmore Vale. Interspersed scrub and woodland provide shelter for many species of butterfly, while the open chalk grassland of the lower slopes is covered in wildflowers in the summer months.

Anyone interested in attending the event is being asked to meet at the National Trust car park on Spread Eagle Hill, not far from the Compton Abbas airfield.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, September 14, 2018

Follow in the footsteps of the Romans on this lovely walk that takes in rare habitat, ancient woodland and glorious views

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

This challenging coastal walk rewards your efforts with spectacular views along the Jurassic Coast

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Marine photographer Steve Belasco shares some very special wildlife moments

Read more
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

TravelSupermarket has uncovered the top 25 most popular UK beaches on Instagram after analysing hashtags used for over 1,100 beaches and Bournemouth comes out on top

Read more
Monday, September 3, 2018

From a harvest festival to a guided tour of a botanical collection used for making perfume, there is plenty happening in Dorset’s gardens this month

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ride + Stride, Dorset Historic Churches Trust’s annual fundraising event, is a great way to explore and support some of the county’s more unusual places of worship

Read more
Monday, August 6, 2018

This easy level walks takes in an ancient village described as The Mother of Bournemouth and Throop Mill of the River Stour

Read more
Monday, August 6, 2018

Dorset villages are some of the most beautiful in England – think winding lanes, thatched cottages and a cosy pub or welcoming tea room. We suggest ten of the prettiest villages to visit in the county

Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more

From paddling on the Frome to admiring one of the best vistas in Dorset, Adam Lee-Potter’s beloved home town just keeps getting better and better

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

Butterflies, buzzards and beautiful views sum up this lovely summer walk around Piddletrenthide and Plush Hill

Read more
Sunday, July 8, 2018

Visit Dorset reveal their favourite lesser-known local beaches to explore if you want to get off the beaten track this summer

Read more
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Anne Brunner-Ellis takes her horse on holiday to a B&B in Ashmore where they both enjoy three glorious days of exploring the local countryside as well as a spot of pampering

Read more

From supper on the beach to a vibrant live music scene, Kate Shaw reveals why her family love living in this award-winning coastal town

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search