A PROJECT to save a rare butterfly focused upon a Ludlow beauty spot has earned an award.

West Midlands Butterfly Conservation is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant.

The Spotlight on the Wood White project is focused on Mortimer Forest near Ludlow, which is one of the few remaining sites in the region for the nationally endangered Wood White butterfly.

This new project, which is aimed at engaging volunteers in conservation efforts to help save the Wood White, has been given a grant of £8,400.

Sharing Heritage is a new funding programme to help people across the UK explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area.

The Wood White butterfly is one of the most threatened species in the UK and has undergone a 65% decline over the past 30 years.

A recent study has shown that only around 50 colonies of this butterfly remain in England, putting it at high risk of extinction.

More than half of all remaining colonies are found on land belonging to the Forestry Commission who has a key role to play in ensuring its survival.

“We are hoping that local volunteers will help us survey and monitor the distribution of the Wood White in Mortimer Forest together with other wildlife,” said Mike Williams, of West Midlands Butterfly Conservation.

“In many ways, the forest and the fantastic wildlife it supports is Ludlow’s best kept secret and we hope that, through our project, more people will come to appreciate the wonderful forest they have on their doorstep.

“The Wood White is on the wing in May and June and again usually in early August and we need volunteers to undertake butterfly counts at its known sites and to look for it in new locations.”

For further information about the project and how to become involved contact Mike Williams on 07802 274552, email mike@stagborough.fsnet.co.uk, or call Julia Walling on 01584 874636 or email Julia.walling@btinternet.com