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Butterfly summer

Forests are great places to explore whatever the weather. In this guest blog Martin Summers, Forest Ranger at Forest Holidays, Deerpark in Cornwall, takes a look at some of the butterflies you might see.

One of the joys of summer, here in the forest, is the sight of butterflies flitting through a sunlit glade. And moths, drawn to the lamplight on a summer's evening, hold their own fascination too. Here is a small selection of my favourites, that our guests at Forest Holidays will be out spotting this summer.

Marsh Fritillary - A rare butterfly that has been making a quiet comeback recently in damp marshy areas. I've not spotted them at Deerpark yet, but I'd like to bet that you'll find them down by the loch at Strathyre. Look for a mosaic of vibrant brown, reds and oranges which fade after a few days and leave a shiny appearance.

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Eyed Hawk Moth - I can't leave out this magnificent moth. To deter predators it spreads its wings to reveal a lifelike, and quite threatening, eye motif. The picture says it all - in fact it had just been scaring off a Great Tit in this photo, intensifying the "eye" colours.

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Holly Blue - Sometimes called the churchyard butterfly, this one has 2 broods of caterpillars a year, firstly on spring holly, and then on ivy in high summer. Black spots on the underside of its distinctive powder-blue wings distinguish this little butterfly from the more abundant Common Blue often seen in the meadows at Keldy.

Humming Bird Hawkmoth - We saw one of these day fliers on the bush skills event recently. It sticks its very long tongue deep into the flowers of rose bay willowherb nectar - and it loves the honeysuckle in your garden too. This was a special moment to share with the guests.

We all love butterflies (and I love moths). They remind us of the carefree summers of our childhood and they are also crucial indicators of the health of our ecosystems. Sadly, many are in decline and this tells us that we need to look after our fragile planet more carefully.

Luckily for us, here at Forest Holidays in the forest glades and relatively untouched meadows, you can still go butterfly spotting and see many different species. All our Forest Rangers will be out with guests right now, identifying butterflies and watching them spread their summer magic.

For more butterfly facts and some tips on creating a butterfly-friendly garden to enjoy every summer, head over to Forestipedia on the Forest Holidays website.

And there's still time to grab a forest cabin during the summer holidays - with a 15% discount during August, so why not come to the forest and see our summer butterflies for yourself.

Spend a few nights in the forest

Forest Holidays are offering blog readers great discounts on bookings this summer. For 15% off cabin prices on all holidays taken between the 25th of July and the 31st of August by using the code GETSUMMER at their online checkout, or get 10% off cabin prices any other time of the year with the code GETANYTIME, offer subject to availability.

Please contact Forest Holidays for further information on these offers.  

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