West Dean Estate, Sussex
West Dean Estate has had an outstanding level of support and co-operation in assisting with conservation of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly on their land.
The Estate has kindly agreed to every one of the numerous requests made over a six year period, through our project partners the South Downs Joint Committee (now South Downs National Park Authority). This has enabled the removal of invasive conifers, opening-up of derelict coppice, fencing and cattle grazing.
A dwindling population of this nationally endangered species has consequently increased to the point where maximum daily counts have exceeded 100 for the last two seasons, and they have started to colonise adjacent areas of suitable habitat. As one of the five largest colonies remaining in the UK, its location between strong populations to the West and smaller, fragmented colonies to the East, make it vitally important from a strategic point of view.
The West Dean Estate is undoubtedly making a very valuable contribution towards Butterfly Conservation’s efforts to reverse the serious decline and potential extinction of the Duke of Burgundy. The Duke of Burgundy colony on the West Dean Estate is one of the key population centres on which the success of the ‘Dukes on the Edge’ project will heavily rely.