We are grateful to have the support of Dr Sue Clarke from the Wiltshire Branch of the Butterfly Conservation Trust.

Sue undertook an initial survey of the Pitton Hill site on 4 April 2023. This identified the value of unimproved chalk downland and scrub as habitat for a number of butterfly species.

In the past the rare Duke of Burgundy was recorded on Pitton Hill. The fact this was historically a Duke breeding area is important. Even if they are now extinct on this site, restoring this remaining area of downland has value as a landscape connectivity stepping-stone between existing colonies at Porton Down and others to the south, including a large population around the Dean Hill area.

Sue will be undertaking further surveys on the site during the spring, summer and autumn and will advise us on the best ways to conserve and manage the habitat for flora and fauna.

In April/May the site will be visited to search for Duke of Burgundy adults and assess breeding habitat. This survey will include looking for Marsh Fritillary and also some of the less common chalk downland day-flying moths.

Then in June/July, another butterfly and day-flying moth survey with habitat assessment will take place. Finally, a survey in late summer will search for Brown Hairstreak adults and other late flying butterflies and moths.

In early winter there will be search for Brown Hairstreak eggs on Blackthorn.