Butterfly walks - Herts & Middx Butterfly Conservation

Butterfly Walks and Moth Events - 2024

We invite all our Butterfly Conservation members as well as members of the public to our butterfly walks and moth events. We have been reviewing our booking system and although some walks (when organised by a third party) may still require booking through an online booking provider such as Eventbrite, the majority will either ask you to email the walk leader to confirm your attendance or no advance booking will be needed.

The link to the Big City Butterfly Eventbrite booking page is here and booking links and events will be added throughout the summer: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/butterfly-conservation-42542657503

Additional butterfly walks and moth events may be arranged by the following wildlife organisations:

Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust
London Wildlife Trust

BUTTERFLY WALKS ARE FOR EVERYONE! You most emphatically do NOT have to be an expert to come on a butterfly walk. Butterfly walks can be enjoyed by anyone with any level of knowledge (or none). Photographers, children (with adult supervision), first-time participants, you are ALL welcome. Butterfly Conservation does not ask for any donation or payment to attend their walks; however some of the walks included in this programme when organised by another organisations may request a donation and/or a fee.

Neighbouring branches also have a wide-ranging programme of walks; some are quite close to our branch borders. The full list of Butterfly Conservation events can be viewed on the national website - here

Please read the important information at the end of the programme

A printable copy of the walks programme in pdf format can be downloaded here

Last updated 12 May 2024

Date: Saturday 18 MAY 2024
Event Title: Guided walk at Bovingdon Brickworks for spring butterflies including Dingy Skipper and day flying moths. For those interested this is also a good site for solitary bees and wasps as well as having a significant array of wildflowers. At the invitation of the Box Moor Trust.
Location: Bovingdon Brickworks
Address and/or grid ref: Carpark off Green Lane, Bovingdon - nearest postcode HP3 0NW. TL007032 [Landranger Map 165]
Time/meeting place: 10:30 - Meet in the site carpark (see directions). Morning walk to finish approx. 13:00.
What3words: https://w3w.co/legend.list.under
Transport & directions: Nearest station is Hemel Hempstead approx. 3 miles (West Midlands Trains from London Euston) - taxi to site would be at least £10. Directions for the Brickworks Wildlife Site: - coming from the M25 leave at J20 onto A41 dual carriageway to Aylesbury. Leave at the next junction at Bourne End. At roundabout, take 2nd exit on to A4251 heading east on London Road towards Boxmoor and Hemel Hempstead. In about 1000 metres at the traffic lights turn right at the Swan Antique Centre on to B4505 / Box Lane. Drive straight on across mini roundabouts and a double roundabout (next to the Half Way House Pub) for a total of 2.7 miles. Then take the main turn on the left to Ley Hill and be ready to turn immediately left again on to Green Lane. In about 200 metres you will see a gateway on the right - hidden in the hedge - where there is small carpark.
Information Most of the site is easy walking but the wilder bits has bramble that needs care to pass. There are a few steep sided dell holes (which do not have to be navigated) so if any children attend they need to be closely supervised. The site can be very muddy after rain so appropriate footwear is advised.
Contact details Malcolm Hull (07768 154324) or email: malcolmhull@hertsmiddx-butterflies.org.uk. The Box Moor Trust reserve the right to cancel the event if weather conditions are considered unfavourable. Booking for this walk is required as numbers will be restricted. A donation when booking will be appreciated to help with the upkeep of the site.
Booking details: https://bookwhen.com/boxmoortrust/e/ev-sugb-20240518103000

Box Moor Trust
Dingy Skipper Colin Meager
The Box Moor Trust
Dingy Skipper at Bovingdon
© Colin Meager

Date: Saturday 18 MAY 2024
Event Title: Guided walk for spring butterflies at Shrub Hill Common looking for Dingy Skipper and day flying moths
Location: Shrub Hill Common, Hemel Hempstead
Address and/or grid ref: Varney Road, Hemel Hempstead - nearest postcode HP1 2LR, TL035074 [Landranger Map 165]
Time/meeting place: 14:15 - Meet at Common entrance off Varney Road to finish approx. 16:15.
What3words: https://w3w.co/scar.ideas.globe
Transport & directions: Nearest station is Hemel Hempstead approx. 1.25 miles (West Midlands Trains from London Euston). Directions for Varney Road: coming from the M25, use the left lane to take the A414 slip road to Hemel Hempstead, continue into Hemel Hempstead and after .5 miles turn left onto London Rd/A425; at the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on London Rd/A4251; at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Fishery Rd and then at the next roundabout take the 1st exit onto Northridge Way. Go through 1 roundabout then at the next roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Long Chaulden, after 0.8 miles, and turn right into Varney Road. There will be some on street parking on the right side.
Information Most of the site is easy walking. The site can be very muddy after rain so appropriate footwear is advised.
Contact details Chris Ridley 07463821287 (on the day only) or email: chrisridley57@gmail.com
Booking details: Please email Chris Ridley to reserve your place - numbers will be restricted to 18 people

Shrub Hill - Roger Prue
Shrub Hill - Roger Prue
Shrub Hill Common
© Roger Prue
Shrub Hill Common
© Roger Prue

Date: Thursday 30 MAY 2024
Event Title: Hexton BioBlitz Open Day
Location: Hexton Hills
Information The Natural England Beds and Herts team in West Anglia would like to invite you to their BioBlitz Open Day at Hexton Hills.

Volunteers from the branch hope to be present on our sales stand.
Details Booking is required see below
Morning session 10am -12pm https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/863811893627
Afternoon session 2pm - 4pm - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/876566743727

Natural England

Date: Saturday 1 JUNE 2024
Event Title: Guided butterfly walk at Heartwood Forest - looking for the rare Small Blue butterfly ~ organised by the Woodland Trust. This is a very popular walk and unfortunately places will be limited
Location: Heartwood Forest
Address and/or grid ref: Heartwood Forest, carpark off the B651, Sandridge AL4 9DQ
Time/meeting place: 11:00 - 13:00
What3words: https://what3words.com/cheat.post.half
Transport & directions: Nearest station St Albans City (Thameslink from London St Pancras Intl.) approx. 2.45 miles. There are two bus services which stop at Sandridge, one from Hitchin to Potters Bar (via St Albans) and one from Hemel Hempstead to Hatfield via Harpenden. Directions from the south. Head north from St Albans along the B651 towards Wheathampstead. Pass through the village of Sandridge along the main road and turn left at the brown road sign for Heartwood Forest (TL172110). Park in the main car park, situated off the B651, (Postcode AL4 9DQ).
Information Guided walk in Heartwood Forest with local butterfly experts Andrew Steele and Malcolm Hull. We will look for a range of species including the rare Small Blue.
Contact details Andrew Steele & Malcolm Hull (07768 154324) or email: malcolmhull@hertsmiddx-butterflies.org.uk
Booking details: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/spring-butterfly-walk-at-heartwood-forest-tickets-828920201637

Small Blue - Ian Carle
Small Blue - Ian Small
Small Blue at Heartwood
© Ian Carle
Small Blue
© Ian Small

Date: Saturday 1 JUNE 2024
Event Title: Horsenden Festival of Nature '24
Location: Horsenden Farm
Address and/or grid ref: Horsenden Lane North Perivale, UB6 7RA
Time 11:00 - 17:00
Transport: Horsenden Farm is close to Perivale Underground Station (Central Line) and the 297 bus route
Information Celebrate, discover and learn about the abundance of nature at Horsenden and enjoy this wonderful green space. Volunteers from the branch will be helping on the sales stand
Details Full details are available here

Horsenden Festival of Nature '24
Horsenden Festival of Nature '24

Date: Sunday 9 JUNE 2024
Event Title: South West Herts Great Big Green Week - Green Market Takeover
Location: Watford High Street
Information The 2024 South West Herts Great Big Green Week (GBGW) will take place over the 8-16 June 2024 across Three Rivers and Watford. Volunteers from the branch will be helping on the sales stand at the Green Market Takeover
Details Full details are available here

Big Green Week
Big Green Week

Date: Saturday 18 JUNE 2024
Event Title: Butterfly Identification and Wild Spaces Workshop at Waterlow Park, Camden (a Big City Butterflies event)
Location: Waterlow Park
Address and/or grid ref: Lauderdale House, Waterlow Park, Highgate Hill, London, N6 5HG
Time 11:00 -13:00
Transport: Nearest station is Archway (Northern Line)
Information Join Steve from the Big City Butterflies project to learn how to identify common butterflies found in London and how to create a 'Wild Space' to support butterflies and moths. The workshop consists of a 1-hour presentation followed by a guided walk and is provided in partnership with Camden Council.
Booking details https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/gardening-and-wild-spaces-for-butterflies-workshop-camden-tickets-900130904767

Wild Spaces

Date: Friday 21 JUNE 2024
Event Title: Guided butterfly walk at Therfield Heath for summer butterflies with Cambridgeshire & Essex Branch (with kind permission of the Conservators of Therfield Heath and Greens).
This walk should be close to the maximum number of species including Dark Green Fritillary, Marbled White, orange skippers and probably the end of the first brood Adonis Blue.
Location: Therfield Heath, near Royston
Address and/or grid ref: TL347405 postcode SG8 5BG (Postcode is same for 3 car parks on the Heath make sure you are at the main one near tennis courts not Golf Club or small one without any buildings near McDonalds)
Time/meeting place: 10:30 at the main Therfield Heath car park. (morning walk to finish before 13:00). Refreshments available from adjacent Heath Cafe Bar before or afterwards. The leader will be at the start whatever the weather, but there will not be many butterflies to see in wet weather so do not travel far if the forecast is poor.
What3words: https://w3w.co/midfield.hiding.bunch
Transport & directions: Nearest station: Royston (Thameslink from London Kings Cross to Cambridge). Directions from the A505 just west of Royston, take the exit to Royston (old road) that runs beneath the Heath; the car park is approx. 1km on the right.
Information There will be some steep slopes. The use of close focusing binoculars might be beneficial when looking at the close detail of some of the smaller butterflies
Contact details Nick Keep ~ 07305 241796 (for queries)
Booking details: No booking is required

Therfield Heath Conservators
Dark Green Fritillary - Chris Benton
Conservators of Therfield Heath and Greens
Dark Green Fritillary at Therfield Heath
© Chris Benton

Date: Monday 24 - Sunday 30 JUNE 2024
Event Title: Insect Week 2024
Information Royal Entomological Society Insect Week runs from Monday 24 JUNE to Sunday 30 JUNE 2024. Events are organised across our branch area
Details Full details and list of events are available here

 Insect Week 24
Insect Week 2024

Date: Tuesday 25th JUNE 2024
Event Title: Butterfly walk at Chorleywood Common for early summer grassland species and day-flying moths including hopefully the very rare Forester moth
Location: Chorleywood Common, Chorleywood
Address and/or grid ref: Nearest postcode WD3 5FL. TQ032966 [Landranger Map 176]
Time/meeting place: 10:30 - 13:00 approx. Meet in the main carpark on the north side of the Common along the Rickmansworth Road (just after the Cricket Club). Approx. 2 ½ hour walk
What3words: https://w3w.co/offers.gear.sticks
Transport & directions: Nearest station is Chorleywood (Metropolitan Line). Please consult a map for walking directions to the meeting point which is a 20 minute brisk walk uphill!
Information Generally easy walking but wear reasonable footwear as there may be some mud and grassland may be damp. No dogs allowed on this walk.
Contact details Philip Gibbs ~ 07759 958804 or email: philip.gibbs2@gmail.com
Booking details: Please email Philip Gibbs to reserve your place

Forester - Chris Hankinson
Six-spot Burnet - Chris Hankinson
Forester at Chorleywood Common
© Chris Hankinson
Six-spot Burnet at Chorleywood Common
© Chris Hankinson

Date: Saturday 29 JUNE 2024
Event Title: Guided butterfly walk and examining the contents of the previous night's moth trap with the Holland Park Ecology Centre lead by Andrew Wood
Location: Holland Park (The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea)
Address and/or grid ref: 10:00 - 11:30 at Holland Park Ecology Centre. At the western side of Holland Park by the adventure playground and next to the Abbotsbury Road Car Park. Entrance to the park is via Ilchester Place Gate, Abbotsbury Road Car Park, the Duchess of Bedford Gate or from Holland Walk and Holland Park Avenue.
Time: Bus routes that serve Holland Park are 9, 23, 27, 28, 49, 328 and C1 (Kensington side) and 31, 94, 148, 228 (Holland Park Station side). London Underground stations: Holland Park (Central line) and Kensington High Street (Circle and District). Overground station: Kensington (Olympia)
Transport: Nearest station is King's Cross
Information: We strongly advise using public transport if possible - this is a free event but booking is essential
Booking details: www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/holland-park-ecology-centre-6717291179

Date: Sunday 30 JUNE 2024
Event Title: Butterfly Walk for early summer butterflies with the Friends of Cassiobury Park and Watford Borough Council.
Location: Whippendell Woods
Address and/or grid ref: Cassiobury Park, Gade Avenue, Watford WD18 7LG. TQ091973 [Landranger Map 166]
Time/meeting place: 14:00 - 16:00 meet just into the park from the entrance opposite Langley Way, WD18 3BD
What3words: https://what3words.com/match.case.bliss
Transport & directions: Cassiobury Park is a 2 minute walk from the Watford Metropolitan line station. Exit the station onto Cassiobury Park Avenue and turn right, after about 150 metres turn left onto Shepherds Road - the park is straight ahead of you. Alternatively Watford Junction (1.3 miles) and Watford High Street (2.1 miles) are the two closest Overground stations. There is one official car park for Cassiobury Park at the end of Gade Avenue near the bottom of Cassiobury Park Avenue (WD18 7LG is the nearest postcode). It should be noted that the car park does get very busy if the weather is good and there is a small charge these days. So best to arrive early to avoid parking problems. There is street parking at weekends along the roads off Langley Way, such as Parkside Drive.
Information: There are toilets at the ‘Hub’ although the café in the park can get quite busy therefore it is suggested you bring your own refreshments.
Contact details: Peter Fewell ~ 07814 282356 or email: p.fewell@yahoo.com
Booking details: No booking is required

White Admiral - Peter Fewell
Silver-washed Fritillary - Peter Fewell
White Admiral
Whippendell Woods 2023
© Peter Fewell
Silver-washed Fritillary
Whippendell Woods 2023
© Peter Fewell

Important advice for an enjoyable butterfly walk or moth event in 2024
  • Please do not attend if you have had a positive COVID-19 test within 7 days prior to the meeting; you have any COVID symptoms or feel unwell
  • Always wear strong shoes
  • You should wear trousers or ensure legs are covered
  • Bring sun protection cream and a sunhat in hot weather
  • Bring something to drink
  • Bring insect repellent
  • Dark glasses should be worn at evening moth events
  • If you decide to leave an event before the end, please tell the leader that you are going
  • It is recommended you bring binoculars especially if looking for woodland butterflies
  • If new to butterfly identification bring along a field guide*
*The Branch sells the FSC Identification Guide to Butterflies. Contact Malcolm Hull for more information (07768 154324 or email: malcolmhull@hertsmiddx-butterflies.org.uk)

Children are welcome at our events, but if under 16 they must be accompanied by at least one adult for two children. It is the responsibility of the accompanying adult(s) to ensure that the event is within the children's ability.

Dogs are normally welcome on walks but must be kept under control. Any exceptions are shown in the individual event details.

Bad weather
Leaders of Branch-led walks will be at the meeting point whatever the weather, but may cancel the event if conditions are unsuitable. Any exceptions are shown in the individual event details. Other organisations and BC branches have different policies. Please contact the named leader for the walk before travelling if you have any concerns.

Lyme Disease
We recommend that all attendees understand the symptoms of Lyme Disease and take the relevant precautions. For more information visit the branch website - here

Special needs
Unfortunately, most walks will not be suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs. Please contact the named leader in advance if you have any concerns about accessibility.

We have tried to include the What3word link for each event. To download the App visit: https://what3words.com/products/what3words-app

Public Transport
We aim to give as much information as possible, although unfortunately some of the Hertfordshire events are not easily accessible by public transport. Train times should be checked, as timetables change and engineering works take place on Saturdays and Sundays. In 2024 industrial action may also affect travel arrangements. We recommend using public transport for all events in London. If using your car please check you are ULEZ compliant https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone