And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear

Duke of Burgundy on Cowslip
The Duke of Burgundy butterfly is one of the most rapidly declining and threatened species of butterfly in the UK. Numbers have crashed by over 50 per cent since the 1970s and only about 100 colonies remain. In 2003, just eight Duke of Burgundy butterflies were recorded in the whole of Sussex. Over the next two years, Neil Hulme and Steyning Downland Scheme volunteers will be planting cowslip to encourage the Duke of Burgundy back to the chalk grasslands of the Steyning Downland. Neil has already been successful in seeing the Duke of Burgundy return to Chantry Hill, about nine miles west of the Steyning Downland. There will be opportunities for local people to work with Wakehurst Place/Kew; to collect cowslip seed and grow cowslip plants; to learn how to identify and monitor the butterflies; and to conserve their habitat. Anyone who is interested should go to the free launch event at the Steyning Centre at 7:00pm on Monday 8th December to find out more. More here.