Speckled Wood

Overview

Until relatively recently the Speckled Wood did not appear in Cumbria on distribution maps in butterfly books. It is believed to have been deliberately introduced into woodland near Witherslack in the mid 1980s but by whom and under what authority is unknown. It survived in very low numbers for a decade or more until the woodland owners greatly thinned out that woodland which was exactly the trigger it needed to breed and spread like wildfire. It is a species that prefers dappled/shaded woodland glades but it bred so successfully that it is now probably our most abundant woodland butterfly on both sides of the Morecambe Bay estuary. It is now also strong in the Furness area and has moved north both up the coast to Workington and via the eastern valleys beyond Penrith, into the villages around Carlisle and even in Finglandrigg Woods on the south Solway Plain.

Where to look

In broadleaved or coniferous woodlands. It is common in the Morecambe Bay area but Arnside Knott, SD455774 or the wooded tracks of Whitbarrow are good places.

Record distribution, frequency, locations and images.

When to look

In Cumbria the Speckled Wood can be seen almost continually from April to October but the best times are the end of April to June and then August to mid October or later in a good year.

Recorded flight times.