Making Draycote Water a haven for rare butterflies

The butterfly action team: Mike Slater, Michael Cox, Rachael Cox, Cathy Wood and Shirley Rhodes.
The butterfly action team: Mike Slater, Michael Cox, Rachael Cox, Cathy Wood and Shirley Rhodes.
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A team of volunteers have created a heavenly home for rare butterflies at Draycote Water.

Working with the Warwickshire branch of Butterfly Conservation, the team from Severn Trent Water created a ‘butterfly bund’, a south facing bank of earth that has been seeded with wild plants including strawberries, creeping cinquefoil and kidney vetch seed. The vegetation will grow into tasty food and create a happy home for endangered butterflies like the Grizzled Skipper and the Small Blue to lay their eggs.

Severn Trent Water ranger Ian Martindale said: “The hard work of our four volunteers – Michael Cox, Cathy Wood, Rachael Cox, and Shirley Rhodes – has meant that we can help to protect these endangered butterflies. The Grizzled Skipper and the Small Blue are priority species on a countrywide action plan, which is supported by the Warwickshire branch of Butterfly Conservation.

“Draycote Water is already home to a number of beautiful butterflies which can be seen flying around the site, but it is important that we do our utmost to protect these endangered species which were once widespread across the country.

“As part of our work, we’ve seeded wild flowers and plants to give added colour and enjoyment for our visitors – as well as providing nectar sources for all sorts of insects. In the future we have plans for a community orchard and a local school is interested in coming to help us plant the trees. We’d very much like the butterfly haven to be enjoyed by the local community too.”

Mike Slater, a volunteer from the Warwickshire branch of Butterfly Conservation, added: “Protecting our rare butterflies is incredibly important. Across the UK today, three-quarters of our butterflies have shown a ten-year decrease in either their distribution or population levels. We know that projects like this work and will help reverse the decline of butterflies at risk of extinction.

“We’d like to say thanks to the Severn Trent volunteers and rangers for showing their continued support. This helps to protect of some of the rarest species in the country. Their work is paying dividends as population levels at the reservoir are increasing. We’d encourage visitors be on the look out for butterflies and pop into the Draycote rangers’ office to let them know what varieties they’ve spotted, or visit to report them.”

To keep up to date on events, activities and photos from the team at Draycote Water follow them on Twitter @STWDraycoteWater or find it on Facebook by searching for ‘STW Draycote Water’. For more information on all Severn Trent Water’s visitor friendly sites visit

Draycote reservoir is used by Severn Trent to store water and can hold more than 5,000,000,000 gallons, which can be used in a number of ways. It can be released back into the river at times of low flow, it can be piped directly to Willes Meadow reservoir in Leamington or it can be drawn off at Draycote water treatment works before being pumped through the network of pipes out to Rugby and Coventry.