Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and our environment
   Upper Thames Branch
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UTB Events Winter 2014-2015

Non-members are welcome to attend our events. If you do so, please make yourself known to the event organiser/leader at the start of the event. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult (see Safety Code point 6 below).

For all outdoor meetings please check with the Leader before turning out as some may be cancelled in adverse weather conditions.


Branch Committee Meetings

Diary Dates for 2015, including National Moth Night

THE UPPER THAMES BRANCH CONSERVATION REVIEW DAY - Saturday 28th March 2015 ** Agenda posted 22/01/15 **

Upper Thames Branch Members' Day & AGM 2014 - Saturday 25th October  

Conservation Work Parties 2014-15

Brown Hairstreak Winter Egg Hunts 2014-15

Field Meetings - Spring 2015 ** NEW 22/01/15 **

Berks Moth Group

Safety Code




Branch members are very welcome to attend our committee meetings but are requested to give prior notice to the Hon. Secretary.

The Upper Thames Branch Committee Meetings for 2015 are scheduled for the evenings of:

  • Monday 16th March (Benson, Oxon)
  • Monday 8th June (Benson, Oxon)    ** CANCELLED **
  • Monday 5th October (Benson, Oxon)

Please contact the Hon. Secretary for details of time and venue.





Saturday 28th March 2015 - Upper Thames Branch Conservation Review Day
Our annual Conservation Review Day will take place on Saturday 28th March 2015 at Dinton Pastures, Hurst, Berks RG10 0TH

Saturday 9th May 2015 - New Members' Day
Our UTB New Members' Day will take place on Saturday 9th May 2015 at Holtspur, Bucks (by invitation).

10th-12th September 2015 - Moth Night 2015
See the Moth Night website for more information.

Saturday 31st October 2015 - Upper Thames Branch Members' Day and AGM 2015
Our UTB Members' Day and AGM 2015 will take place on Saturday 31st October 2015 at St Peter's Church Hall, Earley, Berks RG6 1EY.



Saturday 28th March 2015

Venue : Dinton Pastures, Hurst, Berks RG10 0TH.

Doors open at 10.00 for drinks and biscuits.

The day is for interested members to gather and DISCUSS. There will be presentations but they are intended to fuel discussion.

This day is not intended simply to be of interest to the experts within the society, but also to allow any interested member to learn a little of our Conservation work and have an input into the conversations that shape our future plans.


10:15     Introduction - Nick Bowles

10:20     The Duke in the Chilterns - Ched George

10:40     Recovering the Duke - Sarah Meredith

11:20     Tea break

12:00     The Striped Lychnis at Holtspur Bottom - Tony Gillie

12:25     The Striped Lychnis - Martin Albertini

12:50     Lunchtime - please bring a packed lunch - drinks and biscuits provided

14:00     Marsh Fritillary - Dennis Dell

14:30     How transect walk data can inform dialogue with land managers - Nick Bowles

14:45     Tea break

15:00     Last 15 years of data collected by UTB - Richard Soulsby

15:30    Closing remarks - Grahame Hawker

Room to be vacated by 16:00.



Much of our winter effort is at our own Holtspur Bottom reserve near Beaconsfield, and we work also at Aston Upthorpe in Oxfordshire.

You might combine a walk around the site with a brief session of work. Nobody has to work for the entire session but obviously you may. There are a variety of tasks and no great strength is required. Tools and full instructions are provided.
Please bring stout footwear, a drink and a snack.

All work parties start at 10.00 a.m. unless otherwise stated. At both sites we usually finish about 13.00, although in good weather conditions we may continue until about 14.00.

PLEASE, ALWAYS CONTACT THE TASK LEADER IN ADVANCE and check also for any updates on the branch website, as details frequently change according to weather, number of volunteers, etc.



Holtspur Bottom: Meeting Point SU918906 : Post Code HP9 1BT
Date Work Leader
9 Nov 2014
Guided walk, 'scrape' weeding & hedging Tony Gillie
01865 751201
7 Dec 2014
Scrub removal, Triangle Bank; hedging and levelling around new notice board Tony Gillie
01865 751201
11 Jan 2015
General tidying, hedging & bonfire (if dry) Nick Bowles
01442 382276
1 Feb 2015
Planting, scrub control & hedge laying Nick Bowles
01442 382276
1 Mar 2015
To be decided (Possibly will not run) Nick Bowles
01442 382276

Aston Upthorpe: Meeting Point SU550844
Date Work Leader
02 Nov 2014
Scrub clearance Jim Asher
01865 391727
13 Dec 2014
Scrub clearance Jim Asher
01865 391727
25 Jan 2015
Scrub clearance Jim Asher
01865 391727
21 Feb 2015
Scrub clearance Jim Asher
01865 391727





Because the adult Brown Hairstreak is quite an elusive beast, looking for eggs on blackthorn during the winter months is the best way to map the distribution of the species. A limited number of sites, spread across our local population, are also visited annually by a group of us and searched thoroughly, the results enabling the Branch to monitor the health of the butterfly from year to year.

Anyone is very welcome to join us - no previous experience is required! It would be useful if you could bring a hand lens (x10) or small magnifying glass but otherwise no equipment is needed. Please wear warm clothing and waterproof footwear. It is also a good idea to bring a warm drink to revive you after a couple of hours in the field.

In the past the weather or other circumstances beyond our control have sometimes caused a search to be cancelled, occasionally at the last minute, so if you do intend to join us it is important that you please let Dave Wilton know by the evening before, preferably by e-mail to wilton@burnhamlodge.plus.com (otherwise via text or telephone to 07751 472004). Where changes are known about in sufficient time, information will be posted on this website.

This winter's programme of searches will include the following:


Sunday 16th November 2014 - Slade Camp, Shotover, Oxford (10.30am - 1pm)

Meet in the retail car-park at grid reference SP555050 on the west side of the A4142 Oxford Eastern By-pass (turn off the A4142 at the Horspath Driftway traffic lights then take the first left into the retail park). The area to be searched is immediately opposite on the east side of the by-pass.


Sunday 14th December 2014 - Rushbeds Wood BBOWT Reserve (10.30am - 1pm)

Meet in the small BBOWT car-park at grid reference SP672154. This is accessed from Kingswood Road via a track across the railway, the entrance to which is about 100 metres north of the junction with the Wotton to Brill road. If the car-park is full then further space is available by the road junction.


Thursday 1st January 2015 - Otmoor RSPB Reserve (10.30am - 1pm)

Meet in the RSPB Reserve car-park (grid reference SP570127) for our traditional New Year's Day egg search. The car-park is accessed via Otmoor Lane, leading north out of Beckley.


** NEW **
Saturday 7th February 2015 -
Long Crendon, Bucks (10am-1pm, probably continuing into the afternoon for those interested)

Joint with the Long Crendon Biodiversity Group. Details of meeting place to follow shortly.


** NEW **
Saturday 28th February 2015 -
Bernwood Meadows, Bucks (10.30am-1pm)

Meet in the main Oakley Wood car-park for Bernwood Forest (grid reference SP611116) off the road between Stanton St John and Oakley. We will walk from there to the meadows and the forest path is often quite muddy so wellies are recommended. There is a good deal of blackthorn to be searched so it would be helpful to have as many participants as possible!


** NEW **
Friday 10th April 14.30-16.30
Family Easter Egg hunt, Otmoor RSPB reserve (free event)

Come and help us hunt for eggs - not chocolate eggs, butterfly eggs!
We will show your family how to find the eggs of the rare and beautiful Brown Hairstreak butterfly and award small prizes to the children that manage to find three eggs (under guidance by the event's leaders). Adults may bring no more than three children to supervise please and if possible each child needs a magnifying glass. Everybody needs clothing suitable for the probably muddy and possibly chilly, conditions.

Once we have rediscovered some eggs that are being studied to see how they make progress from egg to butterfly, we will search an area of hedgerow for previously undiscovered eggs, helping us to understand more about this rare butterfly and its colony at Otmoor RSPB reserve.
Sorry, limited numbers so please book in advance: nick.bowles@ntlworld.com



FIELD MEETINGS - SPRING 2015 ** NEW 22/01/15 **


Saturday 16th May 11.00am

Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks
Mainly for Duke of Burgundy. Other spring butterflies will also be present. Some steep slopes and rabbit holes so please wear suitable footwear.
Meet at NT car park for Ivinghoe Beacon (O/S map 165 , SP963159).
Leader and Contact: Robin Carr, tel: 01296 625734


Sunday 17th May 11.00am

Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon
Spring butterflies including Dingy & Grizzled Skippers and Green Hairstreak.
Steep chalk slopes. From the A417 a mile east of Blewbury, turn South along narrow lane opposite turning to Aston Upthorpe Village. Park by grain dryer half a mile along the lane (O/S map 174, SU550844).
Leader and Contact: Gerry Kendall tel: 01865 245029.


Saturday 23rd May 10.30am

Grangelands NR, Lower Cadsden, Bucks
Spring butterflies on chalk downland with some steep slopes, so please wear suitable footwear. Parking by the roadside at the entrance to the National Trust's Pulpit Hill (O/S map 165, grid reference SP832046).
Leader and Contact: Roger Kemp tel: 01296 748932


Sunday 24th May 11.00am

Stonepit Field, Great Linford, Milton Keynes
An area of open grassland including a limestone scrape. A good locality for Small Blue and other more common grassland butterflies.
Meet in Stonepit car park (O/S map 152 grid reference SP845423).
Leader and Contact: Martin Kincaid tel: 01908 235362


Saturday 30th May 10.30am

Lardon Chase, Streatley, Berks
A walk to see the Adonis Blue.
Very steep slopes so please wear suitable footwear. Meet in the National Trust car park off the A4009 at the top of the hill out of Streatley (O/S map 174, SU583806).
Leader and Contact: Maureen Cross 01491 871239


Sunday 31st May 10.30am

Hackpen Hill (also known as Crowhole Bottom and the Devil's Punchbowl), Oxon.
Spring butterflies and day flying moths including Wood Tiger moth. Steep slopes.
Meet at the Sparsholt Firs car park on the B4001 (O/S map 174, SU 355847).
Leaders: Mike and Gillian Taylor tel: 01235 751646




The Berkshire Moth Group meets every second Thursday in the month at 19:30 at Maiden Erleigh Local Nature Reserve Interpretation Centre, Instow Road, Earley, near Reading, SU 749 709 (OS175).

Contact : Grahame Hawker 01189 700144.



As with any other activity, there are hazards in the countryside and everyone taking part in a Field Meeting, Work Party or other event has a responsibility (duty of care), for their own safety and that of others. We try hard to ensure that our events present no hazards but please note and act on the following:


1.      Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. If there are unusual requirements, these are noted in the individual event details. Stout shoes are a minimum requirement.

2.      During the main summer season you may be exposed to strong sunshine for much or all of the walk. Take a hat, use sun cream or protection for exposed skin. Make sure that you have adequate food and liquid to drink with you. Equally, sunshine can easily turn to cold and rain during the day. Be prepared.

3.      Winter events may result in exposure to very cold conditions although events are cancelled in extreme conditions. Warm and waterproof clothing and footwear should always be worn. It is sensible to bring a warm drink.

4.      The leader will provide a briefing on the event before starting, with details of any known particular hazards, and will also give advice on what to do in an emergency.  Please listen carefully.

5.      At the briefing, please let the leader know if you have a mobile telephone and are willing to take it with you and/or you have First Aid qualifications.

6.      Joining the event is an indication of your interest in butterflies. By their nature butterflies do not remain conveniently by the main path and will offer many opportunities (temptations) for you to wander away.   Take particular care to look out for hazards – rabbit holes, fallen or hanging branches, barbed wire, boggy areas, etc. Beware of wet grass, particularly on sloping ground. Children are welcome at our events, but if under 16 must be accompanied by at least one adult for two children. It is the responsibility of the accompanying adult(s) to ensure that the event is within the children's ability.

7.      Dogs are normally welcome on walks but not at work parties. They must be kept under control. Any exceptions are shown in the individual event details.

8.      If you are uncertain about any details of the event, ring the leader/contact in advance. There is always a telephone number given with the event details.

9.      If you decide to leave the event early, tell the Leader.

10.   Take care at all times, but ENJOY YOURSELF.

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