Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and our environment

Ashdown Forest 2018 - Silver-studded Blues

The Silver-studded Blue butterfly in East Sussex has been declining for many years with a 43% drop recorded since 1970. The only place they can be found now is on the Ashdown Forest. Butterfly Conservation has been monitoring their numbers for some time. In 2018 we plan to follow up the conservation work carried out in 2017 using timed counts to assess the butterfly numbers.

To do the timed count all you ned to do is spend five minutes in one of the spots marked on the map below and count the number of Silver-studded blues you see. You can move up to 10 metres from your starting point but no more.

Once you have completed your recording please send them into Butterfly Conservation using the sightings page.

Map of survey sites

List of survey sites

Instructions on how to visit the survey sites

Name Grid ref Description
Site 1ATQ 48721 29253Vanguard Way AView
Site 1BTQ 48652 29293Vanguard Way AView
Site 2ATQ 48402 29455Vanguard Way BView
Site 2BTQ 48290 29581Vanguard Way BView
Site 3ATQ 48392 29347View
Site 3BTQ 48246 29262View
Site 4ATQ 47779 29187View
Site 4BTQ 47760 29036Mowed 2017View
Site 4CTQ 47737 28955Mowed 2017View
Site 4DTQ 47764 28874Mowed 2017View
Site 5ATQ 47964 28596View
Site 5BTQ 4814128611View
Site 5CTQ 48302 28602View
Site 5DTQ 48464 28609View
Site 6ATQ 48102 29313Mowed 2017View
Site 6BTQ 48214 29357Mowed 2017View
Site 6CTQ 48151 29296Mowed 2017View
Site 6DTQ 48255 29316Mowed 2017View
Site 7ATQ 46951 29904Mowed 2017View
Site 7BTQ 46880 29928Mowed 2017View
Site 7CTQ 46990 30066Mowed 2017View

Click the "view" link to show on the map.


Instructions on visiting the site

Preparations for your visit: It is advisable to take either a paper map (OS Explorer 135) or an ordnance survey map App on a mobile phone. We also used a free smartphone app to find the grid references of the survey, and something like that would be very useful to help you know when you have reached the survey points.


To survey sites 1, 2, 3 and 6, we'd recommend starting from the Crow and Gate pub which is adjacent to the A26 a few miles south of Crowborough. There's a large free car park here at TQ 49272 28895. The Crow and Gate can also form the start point for a circular walk of about 3 1/2 miles which encompasses sites 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

From the car park, follow the obvious path across the grassy field towards Ashdown Forest and away from the A26. Follow the path through the belt of trees at the end of the field, and this will bring you out at a T-junction of the path and a forest ride. Turn left at this junction. Continue on the forest ride (with a mature wood to your left and scrubby heathland to your right) for about 100 m. When you reach another block of woodland in front of you, follow the forest ride as it bears round to the right.

Continue straight along this ride, which is now the Vanguard Way (VW), and you'll shortly be out onto open heathland. Continue as the VW begins to descend and you'll reach a distinct area of short heather growing on the ride - this is Site 1A at TQ 48721 29253. Having surveyed 1A, continue along the VW for around another 40 m where there's another area of short heather. This is Site 1B at TQ 48652 29293.

If you wish to survey Site 2 , proceed along the VW as it drops to its lowest point where there are some small ponds and an area of scrub. Continue beyond the ponds and you'll be on a flat section of the ride with a large area of heather to your left. This is Site 2A at TQ 48402 29455. To then reach Site 2B, continue along the VW as it begins to climb and crosses a very small stream. About 50 m after the stream, you'll reach an area of heather on your right - this is Site 2B at TQ 48290 29581.

Having surveyed Site 2 , retrace your steps towards the small ponds at the lowest point of the VW. If you wish to survey Site 3 , turn right here onto the wide forest ride which leads towards a distinctive clump of large pine trees (Crow's Nest Clump) and the Sussex Police training centre on the horizon. After about 40 m on this ride, you'll be broadly level with a small group of trees to your right. Remaining on the ride, you can survey Site 3A here at TQ 48392 29347. Then continue along the ride for about 120 m to reach Site 3B at TQ 48246 29262.

Site 6 comprises four different survey points which are in an open area of heather off the main ride to the north of Site 3B. If surveying Site 6 , please be careful and cautious as there may be adders present while the ground itself may be boggy with undulations which are not immediately apparent. Please refer to the Silver-studded Blue survey map on the Sussex BC website for the exact location of the survey points at Site 6 .

If you'd like to survey Site 4 , return to the wide forest ride and turn right towards Crow's Nest Clump and the police centre. On reaching Crow's Nest Clump, take a minor path to your left which skirts along the southern edge of the clump. About 20 m beyond the clump, a number of paths meet - please stop here for a few minutes to survey Site 4A at TQ 47779 29187.

From Site 4A, head southwards away from Crow's Nest Clump and you'll find that the path diverges into two tracks almost immediately. Take the slightly wider, more prominent track to your right and continue along here for about 120 m until you reach the start of a section which has been recently mowed. This is Site 4B at TQ 47760 29036. Continue for about 50 m and you'll come to Site 4C at TQ 47737 28955, followed by Site 4D about another 40 m along the ride at TQ 47764 28874.

If you'd like to go on to Site 5 , proceed southwards along this ride and continue to walk away from Crow's Nest Clump. After about 150 m, you'll see a large block of woodland to your right (the Dove's Nest) before you shortly reach a T-junction of the ride you're on and another wide forest ride. Turn left at this T-junction.

After about 25 m, you'll see a heather compartment to your left - please pause on the ride here to survey Site 5A at TQ 47964 28596. Continue along this ride for about 75 m to reach a distinctive area of close-cropped heather growing on the ride just beyond a ‘crossroads' of the ride and a path - this is site 5B at TQ 48141 28611. site 5C is about another 75 m on at TQ 48302 28602, again at a distinctive area of cropped heather. Finally, site 5D is on this ride at TQ 48464 28609 just before the ride bears left at a block of woodland.

Having surveyed site 5D, follow the ride as it bears round to the left and descends. Continue as the path takes you through a small wood and then out onto heathland again. Carry on for around 500m until you reach a T-junction - turn right here and you're now back on the ride which you followed from the Crow and Gate. Follow this ride - initially straight on, before bearing left at the intersection of the two blocks of woodland. After about 200 m, you'll see on your right the grassy field leading back to Crow and Gate which has a pleasant garden, cold drinks and a good range of pub food.

Thank you for volunteering to help with this monitoring project. We hope it will build up a detailed picture of Silver-studded Blue numbers on this part of the forest and provide information about the effectiveness of different management methods.

To survey Site 7, we'd recommend parking in the large free car park at King's Standing at TQ 47329 30133.

Having parked, walk out of the car park and cross over the road, going through a small metal gate onto open heathland. Then bear slightly right and walk towards a very large stand of gorse. Then follow a prominent grassy ride as it runs away from the road at 90 degrees, keeping the large gorse stand to your right. After about 150 m, you'll reach a crossroads of the grassy ride you're on and a very wide, sandy forest ride. Cross the sandy forest ride, picking up the grassy ride again on the other side. After about 40 m, you'll reach an open area of heather with a small but distinctive clump of gorse bushes in front of you; this is Site 7C at TQ 46990 30066.

Having surveyed Site 7C, continue on the path you're on, following it as it descends and curves round to the left. After about 175 m, you'll reach an area of heather at a T-junction of the path you're on and another track. Please pause here at TQ 46880 29928 to survey Site 7B. After surveying this point, turn left at the T-junction and continue for approximately 50 m to reach another area of heather at Site 7A at TQ 46951 29904. This completes the monitoring at Site 7.

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