National Trust

Bringing Back the Butteflies

We will restore the unique biodiversity of the chalk grassland on the iconic Purbeck ridge, by reversing the spread of gorse scrub and enabling the traditional grazing patterns to be restored. We will engage local people with nature and inspire landowners to follow our example.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 12:00 PM, 29 November 2016 to 12:01 PM, 6 December 2016

Registered Charity in England and Wales (205846)

Check mark Match funded




  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation




Traditional grazing of the Ridge over centuries maintained a continuous linear grassland sward of 25km from Ballard Down to Lulworth Cove. Loss of grazing since the war led to the spread of gorse scrub and loss of nationally and internationally significant wildlife from the Early gentian flowers to Lulworth Skipper, Adonis Blue and Dingy Skipper butterflies. The habitat is now fragmented: the butterflies cannot move along the ridge as they ought and some are at risk of disappearing altogether.


Grassland corridors will be restored by clearing the gorse, stripping organic litter from the soil, and allowing the wildflowers to return. To be viable long-term, cattle troughs will be installed and fencing erected to enable the cattle to graze the slopes as they once did. If the grassland flora returns, the butterflies should spread: but we will monitor this by involving schoolchildren, students and volunteers in recording their progress as well as showing neighboring landowners the benefits.