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Somerset EuCAN Volunteers open up old chalkpit on Lankham Bottom Butterfly Reserve

Tuesday February 7th 2017, Lankham Bottom Butterfly Reserve:  a beautiful almost spring-like day and possibly the earliest recorded date for Marsh Fritillary larvae sunning themselves in a cluster on the southwest facing slopes of the reserve.
Marsh Fritillary larvae Lankham 7.2.17
Clusters of Marsh Fritillary larvae drawn out by the warm sunshine, a very early date to see them.
14 members of the Dorset branch of Butterfly Conservation and the Somerset EuCAN Volunteers gathered to finish the work on the old chalkpit, to cut and burn up more of the scrub regrowth in what were formerly heavily scrubbed over areas of the reserve and to begin to remove gorse and thorn scrub in the SE corner of the reserve where it is encroaching on valuable Marsh Fritillary habitat.
An enormous pile of buried rubbish was pulled out of the chalkpit with the help of a digger provided by Wessex Water, the owners of the site, and taken away in one of their dumper trucks. The face of the chalkpit was scraped of vegetation and topsoil to expose bare chalk which we hope will be colonised by Birdsfoot Trefoil, Kidney Vetch and other legumes and will become an attractive habitat for some of the blue butterfly species. Photos: Malcolm Halfacre and Georgie Laing (dumper truck).
The work on the SE corner will continue next Wednesday Feb 15th – all extra help gratefully received! 
Lankham chalkpit now with a new face and emptied of rubbish!
 Decades of farm rubbish was hauled out of the chalkpit
Wessex Water as site owners very kindly took away the heap of rubbish extracted from the chalkpit at Lankham Bottom
Wessex Water, the site owners, removed the rubbish pile.