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The New Forest boasts an impressive array of uncommon and special butterfly species.

Being so colourful, butterflies are the most noticeable of insects. A few species will only live on heathlands and the New Forest holds all of the heathland species that occur in the south of the UK.

Butterflies lay eggs that hatch into caterpillars. The food that the caterpillars eat varies from species to species, with many eating grasses, some eating the leaves of various plants and some of the blue species eating ant pupae and eggs in ants’ nests.

The range of habitats is important for the butterflies of the New Forest and there are some rare woodland and heathland species that depend upon the habitat management being just right for them.

Here we look at the rare species that have a particular stronghold in the New Forest and some of the common species that you are most likely to see.

Lead Ranger


'To help ground nesting birds rear their young safely, keep yourself, dogs and ridden horses on the main tracks from the beginning of March to the end of July.'

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