High Weald

ringletThe Ringlet, Aphantopus hyperantus is widespread throughout Britain. A dark brown butterfly, the wing has distinctive eyespots. This butterfly flies with a distinctive, bobbing flight, and continues flying in dull, cloudy conditions when most other butterflies are inactive.

The best places to find this dusky brown butterfly are the rides, edges and glades of woods, where wild grasses have been left to grow into a dense strip or as isolated tussocks.  In southern Britain most large or medium sized woods contain a colony, so long as there are open or semi-shaded spaces and therefore should be present in many High Weald woods.   Although it avoids a closed canopy, the Ringlet is more tolerant of shade than any other butterfly that breeds on the woodland floor.  But the species is by no means confined to woods, and can be encountered on any patch of rank, unfertilised grassland. 

This common butterfly is frequently overlookded because of its resemblance in flight to the male Meadow Brown.  However it has much darker wings, bordered by a fine white fringe that shines as it catches the sun and none of the orange of the Meadow Brown.

Visit any High Weald wood such as St Leonards Forest near Horsham for a chance of seeing Ringlets.