A NEW generation of one of Britain’s rarest butterflies has taken flight at the Belfairs Wood nature reserve.

Known as a brood the Heath Fritillary second generation success is a big moment for the Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve.

The butterfly which was once considered to be on the brink of extinction in the late 1970s, has seen its numbers grow since it was reintroduced into Essex and thanks to the long hot summer and careful habitat management, a second group of its offspring have taken to the skies in Leigh.

Known for its delicate orange and brown chequered wings, the butterfly can usually be seen fluttering close to the ground in the south-east and south-west of England.

The butterfly is usually seen to emerge between May and July but the hot conditions this summer have meant that the larvae were able to grow quickly enough, to see a new offspring emerge.

The second brood is a significant achievement for the Essex Wildlife Trust who have worked tirelessly to provide the best conditions for the rare butterfly to flourish.

The trust is the leading conservation charity in Essex and with more than 37,000 members, it oversees over 8,400 acres of land in the county.

The dedicated staff that help run the charity and its reserves have managed specific areas of the nature reserve in Leigh for several years and this focus has seen the butterfly’s numbers steadily grow.

Tristan Colaço, Essex Wildlife Trust’s Ranger at Belfairs Woods, said: “The second flight period of Heath Fritillary here is really exciting. Numbers are looking really great here thanks to the fantastic habitat management our volunteer team have been helping us to create over the years.”

“Thanks to the really great work of the previous warden and his group of volunteers who have been doing some fantastic habitat creation here. They’re out and about here at the moment, hopefully they’re going to create another brood of young that will successfully grow up. Hopefully the mild weather will set things up to be very positive.”