Caption: Dark Green Fritillaries - mating

The brightly coloured Fritillary butterflies are now flying around the Rusland Horizon woodlands. The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is the first to emerge and the bright orange butterfly can be seen, on sunny days, around areas of bracken with violets underneath, and often in damper grassland and stream areas throughout the area. We are still discovering new sites for them, so would welcome any records.

The High Brown Fritillary is much rarer, although it has been seen in the Grizedale Forest in the last few years, and emerges in July. All the Fritillaries lay their eggs on violet leaves in amongst bracken, which keeps the developing larvae and pupae warm.  It is very difficult to differentiate between these two large, orange patterned butterflies, but if you can take a photograph showing the underwings when they are resting, we can sort them out. You could also look at the Butterfly Conservation website ( for more information.

However, please do not catch these butterflies as the High Brown Fritillary is protected by law as it is now endangered, and a licence must be held to capture one in a net. Please send any records to Hilary Smith, Wings in the Woods Project Officer or why not join in the Big Butterfly Count 2018 - running from 20 July to 12 August.  Click here to find out more.

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Rusland Horizons was a Landscape Partnership funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund until July 2019. It is now being delivered by The Rusland Horizons Trust Limited. Company No. 2133450; Charity No. 519410; Registered Office: Bleacott Farm, Witherslack, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria LA11 6RZ.