The Chequered Skipper Re-introduction Blog

Back from the Brink

Chequered Skipper
This page will be regularly updated with news from Susannah O’Riordan, the Back from the Brink Rockingham Forest Project Officer

If you would like to find out more about the project, please contact Susannah O’Riordan at

May 2018

On 25th May 41 Chequered Skippers were released in a secret area in the Rockingham Forest.

September 2017

My priority now is to carry out vegetation surveys along the rides within the target woodlands. This will enable us to identify which woodlands are most suitable for the proposed chequered skipper reintroduction, as well as which sites we want to prioritise for habitat management work this winter.

August 2017

Since taking up the role at the end of July, I’ve been busy getting to know my project area - Rockingham Forest - and meeting the landowners and land managers of the 11 priority sites where we plan to carry out management work and surveys. One of my first activities was joining the Beds and Northants butterfly walk at Fineshade, where I am based.

I’m sure many of you already know that one of the aims of the project is to reintroduce the chequered skipper to England, where it has been extinct since 1976. We are hoping to trial the first reintroduction in Spring 2018, weather permitting. Whilst there are still populations of the chequered skipper in Scotland, we will be sourcing our butterflies from Belgium. This is because the primary larval plant of the Scottish populations is purple moor grass, whilst the English skippers were associated with false brome grass, which the Belgium populations also favour.

What is the Back from the Brink project?

Bringing England’s nature back from the brink of extinction

More than 100 wildflowers, birds, butterflies and other animals could be saved from extinction thanks to a new £4.6m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Back from the Brink is an innovative project to save our rarest and most threatened wildlife such as grey-long- eared bats, pine martens, crayfish, willow tits and the large blue butterfly. Led by Natural England, the project involves Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC), Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It’s the first time that so many conservation organisations have joined forces to tackle species extinction.

The scope of the project is fantastic – to save 20 species from extinction and to help another 118 on the road to recovery.
One of the projects that Butterfly Conservation are leading on is the Rockingham Forest project.
Focusing on the woodland landscape between Peterborough and Corby, the project aims to improve the habitat on a number of key woodland sites within the area.
Working with our partners, including Plantlife, RSPB, ARC and the Bat Conservation Trust, the project aims to improve the woodlands for special species such as barbastelle bat, adder, willow tit, fly orchid and concolorous.

The project also aims to reintroduce the chequered skipper to Rockingham Forest, an area that was once one of its strongholds in England. It was last recorded here in 1976 and was thought to have gone extinct due to changes to the woodland habitat. As well as carrying out direct habitat work for the target species, the project will also give people the opportunity to learn about the wonderful woodland wildlife found within the Rockingham Forest area. Through a programme of guided walks, talks and moth nights, people will be able to learn about the special species found in Rockingham Forest.
There will be opportunities for people to join in with the work of the project, volunteering to help save these threatened species. This project is currently in a development phase, where plans are being put together in preparation for the second round funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project is expected to start mid-to-late 2017 and will run for 4 years. You can help us develop this project! By clicking the link below and completing the survey you can give your views and help us shape the design of this project:

We want to find out more about your views on wildlife and saving threatened species. Please help us by going to the Nature Back from the Brink website Back from the Brink and completing a Survey Monkey questionnaire. Your views will help develop the project into one of the largest species recovery programmes to take place in England. Thank you