Camberwell Beauty Butterfly

Two visitors returned to Green Dale on Sunday after many years absence. Camberwell Beauties were back in their once natural habitat, thanks to James Frankcom, an amateur butterfly breeder from Spitalfields, east London.

"I thought Camberwell was the right place to release these two beauties," he says. "And I was advised that Green Dale was the ideal place for them to fly. It has the right habitat for them to prosper."

But be quick if you want to see them. For their lives are short, unless they find somewhere successful to hibernate when the weather gets colder.

Camberwell Beauties were once commonplace in Camberwell when it was a centre of paper making. A number of paper mills existed close to the Surrey Canal, which was the route for logs shipped from northern Europe and Scandanavia. Upon arrival, the eggs would open and the crysallis would hatch, turning into beautiful butterflies within four to five weeks.

They have not been seen locally since the paper mills, such as the famous Samual Jones mill, moved in the 1960s followed by the closure of the canal as Burgess Park developed.

Frankcom claims the butterflies are easy to breed from the right larva. So we may yet see these protected beauties as regular visitors.

30 August 2020