Marsland, in Devon, has found itself becoming a veritable stronghold for two rare butterflies. Back in the 1980s you would have found just a handful of the pearl-bordered fritillary and its small cousin in this area. Both species have declined by more than 50% across the whole of the UK according to figures supplied by Butterfly Conversation.

However, over the last couple of decades, numbers at this site have actually increased in number, bucking the national trend of decline. This summer over two hundred of each species have been recorded, matching the numbers of last year and working towards the numbers recorded in 2012.

The fall in numbers across the country has largely been due to habitat loss, and so both species are now absent from large areas of the country. The pearl-bordered fritillary is now considered one of our rarest butterflies, as the overall population has seen a reduction of over 70% in its numbers since the 1970s. The species is now virtually lost from the east of England and the Midlands. Similarly the small species version is now only found in Scotland, Wales and the west of England

The trust has worked hard to maintain the habitat of the area through land management and it is this that has helped increase numbers in the locality and helped both species to prosper compared to other areas of the country, in fact it is now one of the highest concentrations of these butterflies anywhere in the country. So if you want to try and spot them get yourself down to Devon while the weather is still good, not forgetting to take your camera and your Regatta Fleece and see these rare butterflies in their natural habitat.