‘Buckthorn for Brimstone’ in Tendring

Monday 1st February 2016

Buckthorn for Brimstone

Free plants for gardeners - and help for the beautiful Brimstone. Essex Wildlife Trust, Tendring District Council and Butterfly Conservation have joined forces to encourage the vital movement of wildlife across the Tendring District – and they need people to help!

Their ‘Buckthorn for Brimstone’ campaign aims to plant hundreds of Common buckthorn shrubs across the district. The shrubs will act primarily as the sole food plant of the Brimstone butterfly larvae; birds and small mammals will also feed on the fruit. The Brimstone is still relatively common in England but its population is in decline. Possibly the word ‘butterfly’ comes from the male’s yellow colourisation: ‘butter-coloured fly.’

The partnership is looking for commercial and private landowners, including gardeners, allotment holders, schools, community groups and parish councils, who would like to plant one or more Common buckthorn shrubs on their land.

Buckthorn (a bushy, deciduous shrub, with attractive leaves in autumn and clusters of flowers in spring, followed by berries) plants are available for free to landowners and gardeners in Tendring District. People should register their interest by emailing Emma Brogden, Living Landscapes Co-ordinator for Essex Wildlife Trust, by Friday 12 February email. Buckthorn plants will be available to collect, subject to registration, from Tendring District Council offices (in Weeley) on Friday 11 March and Saturday 12 March 2016.

The partnership is urging people to report Brimstone sightings or to register their interest in the campaign. Recording sightings of the Brimstone will allow the partnership to monitor the success of the campaign, as well as identifying ‘corridors’ required to guide any future planting programmes. Sightings of Brimstone adults, eggs or caterpillars should be registered at www.essexwtrecords.org.uk. These records will be shared between partners to inform the campaign of its success within the district.

Mike Sandison, Chairman of Essex Wildlife Trust said: “The Trust is delighted to be able share with Tendring District Council the financing of this campaign, and to work with them and Butterfly Conservation to expand the numbers of this much-loved butterfly, which is to many people as synonymous with the arrival of spring as swallows. We hope there will be a very enthusiastic take-up of the offer of free buckthorn shrubs.”

Cllr Neil Stock, Leader of Tendring District Council said: “Projects such as this help the Council to improve the biodiversity of the district and I am pleased to provide our support. I believe that it is important to maintain and enhance the qualities of the landscape and the wider environment both for the benefit to wildlife and for local residents as well as visitors to this beautiful part of Essex. I look forward to working with our partners to help improve the environment for the Brimstone butterfly.”

□ The ‘Buckthorn for Brimstone’ campaign was successfully run in 2013-2015 in Maldon District, where it is hoped the benefits will be evident for many years to come. The campaign is part of the Living Landscapes vision, championed by Essex Wildlife Trust and across the Wildlife Trusts nationally, which aims to “Restore, Recreate and Reconnect” wildlife-rich areas for the benefit of “Wildlife, People and Local Economy.”