The Small Copper, Lycaena phlaeas is a tiny, bright orange butterfly with dark patterned wings that flies late into the year and is one of the liveliest and brightest of lowland butterflies in Britain.
In the High Weald it can be found in various habitats, including heathland, woodland clearings and unimproved grasslands. This species may be found also in small patches of land such as rough fields, roadside verges, railway embankments, allotments, churchyards, and waste ground. Warm, dry situations are especially favoured. Common Sorrel and Sheep's Sorrel are the main foodplants.
Unimproved grasslands and heathland are habitats which determine the character of the High Weald landscape. The Management Plan, written specially for the AONB, sets out targets (which encourage everyone) to enhance the ecological function of field and heath. Long term management of both – maintaining the extent and preventing further loss or degradation is needed to benefit species such as the Small Copper.
Visit meadows across the High Weald AONB to find colonies of this charming butterfly.