Shatterford Woods - A Natural Networks Case Study

Natural networks

Shatterford Woods - A Natural Networks Case Study

A sunny ride in Shatterford Woods CREDIT Mike Williams

The Shatterford Woods project was a collaboration with Butterfly Conservation and Forestry England and was one of the first Natural Networks projects to be completed. Shatterford Woods lies just inside the Worcestershire’s northern border and forms an important satellite woodland to the Wyre Forest, an area which is home to several rare butterflies and a host of other wildlife.

The project involved widening and improving woodland rides and glades though several larch plantations: creating open, sunny habitats to benefit a range of wildlife. During the project over 2.3 km (1.4 miles) of woodland rides and clearings were enhanced, an area of hazel coppice was reinstated, and a south-facing bank was managed to expose it to the sunlight - providing excellent habitat for butterflies and other pollinators.

Brown/grey dingy skipper butterfly on purple bugle flowers by Steve Horton

Dingy skipper in Shatterford Woods by Steve Horton

In May 2020 a dingy skipper butterfly was seen at Shatterford Woods by a Butterfly Conservation volunteer, the first time this species has been recorded on the site. The dingy skipper was once found throughout England, but it has suffered significant declines in recent decades due to habitat loss and the isolation of its colonies. This siting is great news and a good sign that the project is already having positive effects.