Letter: Butterflies and woods worth preserving

Sir: Oxleas Wood is certainly a naturalist's paradise worth preserving if the 100 species of butterfly you report it as being home to are any indication of its biological diversity ('Environmentalists win battle for Oxleas Wood', 8 July). But then perhaps it is like the fabled Brensham Hill of the country writer John Moore -

If fallow deer, what else might inhabit the place, what birds, beasts, butterflies, what hoopoes, what golden orioles, what fire- crested wrens, what polecats, martens, adders, lizards, Camberwell Beauties, Queen of Spain fritillaries, Bath Whites?

(Brensham Village, John Moore, 1946)

Even South's classic, The Butterflies of the British Isles, can offer a collector only the outside chance of taking 68 butterfly species in Britain, and that in the pre-conservation, pre-pollution- conscious, golden age of lepidoptery. Yet perhaps it is not totally improbable - after all, Oxleas is only a step from Camberwell]

Yours faithfully,

STEPHEN HUNT

Preston,

Lancashire

8 July

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