27 July 2012
As Olympic cyclists race up Box Hill on Saturday, with thousands of fans cheering Mark Cavendish and Team GB, they can all be reassured that rare species of butterflies have been safely protected at the Surrey beauty spot.
Three large images of the beautiful Adonis blue butterfly will be transferred onto the famous Zig Zag road on Friday 27th July. The images have become a symbol of the work done by London2012, the National Trust and Natural England to protect and enhance the habitat for wildlife at Box Hill whilst ensuring fans can line the route up the Zig Zag this weekend.
The artwork, which will be made into three 3m x 3m road transfers, was created by artist Helen Shackleton and was funded by the National Trust, Surrey Hills AONB Board, Surrey Arts, the Friends of Box Hill and Natural England. The images of this vivid and beautiful butterfly will be clearly visible to television viewers around the world.
Aly Holly, National Trust Visitor Experience Manager for the Surrey Hills said: “We were really excited to work with Helen Shackleton once again – she knows Box Hill and its wildlife so well. This vivid blue butterfly really has become a symbol for the amazing journey we have all been on over the past few years. Working collectively, we have achieved something almost unique – bringing together world-class sport, visitor enjoyment and nature conservation.”
New colonies of another rare butterfly, the small blue, were only recently discovered on the site thanks to survey work carried out by London2012 during the build-up to the Games. The caterpillars of this rare species of butterfly feed only on the kidney vetch plant, which grows in the rich chalk grassland.
Box Hill sits in a Site of Special Scientific Interest – famed for its quintessentially English rolling chalk downland, and is home to 40 species of butterfly and over a dozen species of orchid. Landowners the National Trust, London2012 and Natural England have worked closely together to ensure that the Olympic Cycling Road Races could accommodate large numbers of spectators whilst safeguarding the fragile habitats that make the area so environmentally special.
Box Hill was chosen as the hill climb for the cycling road races because it provides a challenging climb – the men’s races will loop up Box Hill nine times and the women’s, twice. As they make the epic climb they will be cheered on by thousands of fans in the carefully planned spectator areas – further evidence of the lengths London2012 has gone to ensure these are the greenest Games ever.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman congratulated the National Trust and Natural England saying: “As millions of us cheer Team GB as they go for Gold, we can be reassured that we’ve also been very green. Britain has been widely praised for providing the greenest Games ever, and this excellent example showcases how we’ve created a global spectacle for thousands of fans to see and cheer our champion cyclists while protecting rare local species.”
Notes to editors
For further information, please contact:
Natural England - Lyndon Marquis, 0300 060 4236, email@example.com
National Trust – Michelle Cleverley, 07917 070491, firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s a picture of an Adonis blue to download on our Flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/naturalengland/6174351151/
There’ll be video and photos of the butterflies being put on the road available from approx 19.00 from the National Trust’s ftp site: https://ftp.nationaltrust.org.uk/
Login ID: PressOffice
About the National Trust
The National Trust cares for over 300 of England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s greatest historic houses and gardens, 1,000 km of coastline and vast swathes of our most beautiful countryside. From former workers' cottages to the most iconic stately homes, and from mines and mills to theatres and inns, the stories of people and their heritage are at the heart of everything they do. People of all ages – individuals, schools and communities – get involved each year with projects, events and working holidays and over 60,000 volunteers help to bring the properties alive for the Trust's 4 million members and many more million visitors.