AN UNSPOILED nature reserve in Stroud’s Golden Valley which is home to one of the UK’s rarest butterflies is now officially under the careful stewardship of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Daneway Banks Reserve near Oakridge Lynch was purchased by the trust after a massive appeal last year – which saw the charity’s many supports club together to raise the funds.

Ownership of the land was legally transferred to the charity today, securing its future for years to come.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) had managed the site for more the 40 years, but jumped at the opportunity to take over full control of the protected land.

Daneway Banks is part of the Golden Valley Wildlife Way, which includes Strawberry Banks, Three Groves Wood and Siccaridge Wood nature reserves.

Writing in the Trust’s spring magazine to its 27,500 members in the county, CEO Roger Mortlock thanked all those who had chipped in to reach the £50,000 target and make the trust’s dream a reality.

“A year ago we had the opportunity to buy Daneway Banks nature reserve in Stroud’s Golden Valley – one of our most treasured and diverse limestone grassland sites and home to the incredibly successful reintroduction to the Cotswolds of the large blue butterfly,” he said.

“The reaction from our members and partners over the last year has been extraordinary,” he continued.

“We had expected to put some of our precious financial reserves towards the purchase, but in the end our members and partners met the entire costs.”

As well as Yellow Meadow Ants, Dark Green Fritillarys, Marbled Whites and Ravens, the reserve is also home to the Large Blue butterfly.

Having been a frequent sight for generations in the Cotswolds, numbers of the large blues fell dramatically in the 20th century and by 1979 it was declared extinct in the UK.

Its fortunes reversed when the Large Blue Project reintroduced large blue larvae and eggs from Sweden in the 1980s and 90s to a few very special sites in the UK where the butterflies might have a chance of surviving.

GWT was heavily involved in the Large Blue Project, working closely with partners from the University of Oxford and the Royal Entomological Society and Butterfly Conservation.

Daneway Banks now supports one of the largest known colonies of the large blue butterfly and it is estimated that up to 2,000 large blue butterflies may have emerged last year.

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As well as the large blue butterfly, the reserve is special for a wide range of butterflies and flowers, particularly in the spring and summer months.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is a countywide charity which manages 60 nature reserves covering over 2,000 acres in addition to identifying key sites of nature importance.

Membership of the Trust costs from just £2 a month.

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