Have a look at some of the GDT activities and working parties

Work Party January 26, 2020

Volunteers spent the day building tee pees over coppiced hazel to protect new hazel shoots from being eaten by deer, as well as burning excess hazel brush.  The work was mainly to provide dormice with food and habitat areas.  Georgia and her father were particularly good at tee pee building and also brought in an artistic element by tying vines around the tee pees which should also help them stay together a real work of art and function.

What a glorious day we had for this year's GDT Picnic complete with a siting of the Purple Emperor butterfly.

Michael Blencowe’s May 2016 walk on Graffham Down.

Michael Blencowe couldn’t have asked for much more when he was joined by 24 others for his annual May walk around the Graffham Down Reserves.  With little sun on a cool day no one was expecting to see much in the way of butterflies and in truth there were very few visible.

Unphased Michael explained what we might hope to see and prayed for the sun to show more often.  Sadly his pray was unanswered, but with every cloud and there were many of them comes a silver lining.  Cold butterflies often spend time with open wings trying to warm up and are are easier to photograph.  Silver turned to gold when the first butterfly to be found was the rare and recently discovered on Graffham Down, Duke of Burgundy.  The male of the species, ususlly fiercly defending his territory, could only laze languidly trying to warm his wings suffieintly to get airborne.  It gave everyone excellent views and photo opportunities.

There was a profusion of cowslips in Scott’s Corner.  Perfect for the fussy female or Duchess who egg-lays only on large succulent cowslips with upright leaves in short scrub.  These exacting requirements give the developing caterpillars plenty of food in a warm position.  The male guards the area diligently.


After this incredible start to the walk everything else was a bonus.  The day flying moth the Speckled Yellow appeared frequently, but was difficult to view well.   A red admiral showed itself briefly before perching high in a yew tree and a couple of male Orange-tip butterflies showed themselves off while warming in the long grass.  A Speckled wood made a brief appearance and a roosting female Orange tip displayed the beautiful lacework pattern on her underwings.