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Scenario: Three friends go seeking rare butterflies across the border in England.

190628 Haddon Hill views

First location: Haddon Hill, in Somerset, offering superb views across the surrounding countryside and grazed by Exmoor ponies.

190628 exmoor ponies

Support act: A Green hairstreak. This was a superb spot by Alan almost as soon as we crossed the stile into the reserve, as this gorgeous little butterfly was incredibly well camouflaged sitting on the grass.

190628 green hairstreak

Star attraction: Heath fritillary. What a cracking little butterfly this is, with its elaborate orange and dark brown upperwing markings, and its equally lovely and intricate underwings. Sadly, this is a rare butterfly in Britain these days but it is being helped along by the sterling efforts of Butterfly Conservation and others. Luckily, at this site, Heath fritillaries are very numerous – we must’ve seen at least 25, and they were literally fluttering in the bushes and brambles all around us. One even landed briefly on my hand – an incredibly special moment.

190628 heath fritillary (1)190628 heath fritillary (2)190628 heath fritillary (3)190628 heath fritillary (4)190628 heath fritillary (5)