Prees Heath Common Reserve
For centuries Prees Heath was an open
heathland common. It was used for warfare training during WWI and as
a bomber airfield during WWII. The old aircraft control
tower is still present and provides a reminder of part of the areas past
history. The heathland was gradually destroyed
during the decades following WWII. Fortunately
a small part was given protection as a Site of
Special Interest in 1991. Thanks to the great efforts by
Butterfly Conservation, Cheshire and Shropshire Wildlife Trusts and
members of the public during the Prees Heath Appeal sufficient money
was raised for Butterfly Conservation to purchase 148 acres of the heathland. Work
towards restoring the heathland to its former glory has already
received from Grantscape and English Nature.
Prees Heath is the last place in the West Midlands where the threatened
is found. The species has declined
by 50 per cent since 1980.
To survive the
Silver-studded Blue butterfly requires the presence of ants together with
open ground containing short heathland vegetation. The females
are known to utilise bell and ling heather and bird's foot trefoil, near to ants'
nests, when laying their eggs. The chrysalis is formed underground
within chambers of the ants nest. The caterpillar is tended by the ants as
it feeds on the leaves and shoots of its food plants. The benefit to the
ant is a tasty honey-like dew excreted by the caterpillar which the ants
butterfly with attending ants
To see the
Silver-studded Blue butterfly visit Prees Heath between mid June and early
August. The area also provides good bird watching opportunities
throughout the year.
to return to the Prees Heath Home Page
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