I made a brief visit to the chalk grassland bank we created over the winter at St Anne's - and it's certainly working. The bank was alive with butterflies; meadow brown, gatekeeper, common blue, small copper. I was impressed with the number of brown argus butterflies that could be found on the site too.
The flora here now is a real mix of chalk downland species and includes: wild thyme, ladies bedstraw, small scabious, kidney vetch, wild carrot, oxeye daisy, rough hawkbit, yarrow, lesser trefoil, black meddick, burnet saxifrage, salad burnet, wild strawberry, vervain, self heal, basil, cowslip, knapweed, red clover, common mouse ear, mouse-eared hawkweed, hairy violet, false oat grass, hoary plantain, ribwort plantain, marjoram and smooth hawksbeard.
And it wasn't just butterflies who were benefiting from the bank. The range of nectar sources available were attracting a wide variety of bees, beetles, bugs and hoverflies. A number of mining bees have made a home in the bare earth areas we exposed along the bank.
Thanks to ecologist Ralph Hobbs who assisted with the flower list.