The Alun Valley Project
The Alun Valley in the Vale of Glamorgan supports what is thought to be the last population in Wales of the high brown fritillary. Two other species of fritillary are also found there: dark green and small pearl-bordered.
In 1999 the population of the high brown fritillary in the Alun Valley had declined to a dangerous low.
In 2003, Butterfly Conservation applied for funding from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund on behalf of the Vale Biodiversity Partnership to undertake a habitat management and restoration programme.
With the help of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast project and a dedicated team of volunteers, scrub clearance and coppicing has taken place every winter since 2003 to try to restore breeding habitat.
Since the work began, the high brown fritillary has undergone population increases each year and has appeared on all the managed patches. In May 2006, habitat quality assessment was carried out to give a “before and after” comparison which showed that:
- The coverage of violets (the larval food plant) had increased
- Bracken litter, grass/moss and sward height had all improved
- Both high brown fritillary and dark green fritillary were breeding on the site as caterpillars were found
Annual transect counts of adult butterflies have shown that the population has made a dramatic recovery.