Gloucestershire

Stroud home of Large Blue butterfly secured by wildlife trust

A Large Blue butterfly Image copyright PA
Image caption Some 2,000 Large Blue butterflies may have emerged at Daneway Banks last year, it has been estimated

A "treasured" nature reserve which has seen a reintroduction to the Cotswolds of the rare Large Blue butterfly has been bought by a wildlife trust.

The butterfly was brought back to the Daneway Banks site at Sapperton near Stroud 16 years ago.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust heralded the reintroduction as "incredibly successful" and launched a £50,000 bid last year to buy the reserve.

The trust said the chance to own it was "too tempting to ignore".

'Diverse site'

Roger Mortlock, trust chief executive, described the reserve as "one of our most treasured and diverse limestone grassland sites".

"We had been managing the site for over 40 years, so the opportunity to secure its future was too tempting to ignore," he said.

According to the trust, the reserve supports one of the largest known colonies of the large blue butterfly and it is estimated that up to 2,000 large blue butterflies may have emerged last year.

It is a stark difference from last century when numbers fell so dramatically that it was declared extinct in the UK in 1979.

A project was launched in the 1980s and 1990s to bring it back using larvae and eggs from Sweden to a few sites in the UK.

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