When we moved to The Woollen Mill, we were immediately struck by the number of butterflies in the garden. The flashes of colour seemed rather wondrous after life in suburbia where butterflies were almost nonexistent. At first, we thought that we were being visited by a multitude of butterflies simply because we were living in the countryside. But it soon became apparent that the situation wasn’t quite as simple as that. After all, we have always walked in rural areas but had never seen quite so many butterflies in one place.
As we began to explore the lanes around the mill, we quickly realised why the butterflies were thriving. The local farmers have left field margins for wildlife and the fields are bordered by traditional hedgerows. Better still, there is a large uncultivated meadow next door in which many wildflowers grow. After we had been here for a few weeks, the field in front of the mill was planted with beetroot and when the plants began to grow, literally thousands of small whites appeared. It was a fabulous site and things got even better when some of these butterflies started to visit our garden.
Talking of our garden, it was in a bit of state when we bought the property, although there were a few plants and shrubs which had survived and some of these were attractive to butterflies. We set about digging over and replanting every area of the garden, taking care to feature species which would attract more of our colourful visitors. The planting has certainly worked!