A RARE species of heathland butterfly has increased in number at Kinver Edge, the National Trust has said.

Habitat restoration work has reportedly helped to strengthen the population of Small Heath butterflies at the beauty spot.

An area of heathland, which was restored in 2014, has become a hotspot for butterflies, bees and invertebrates thanks to its warm and dry soils – according to the trust which manages Kinver Edge.

Characterised by open landscape, scattered trees and low-growing shrubs like gorse, heather and grasses - heathland provides an ideal habitat for sun-seeking butterflies such as the Small Heath.

Lead ranger Ewan Chapman said: “It’s hard to imagine a walk on a warm, summer’s day without thinking of a butterfly fluttering through long grass. The truth is, without action, lots of species of butterfly will be scarce or even extinct within the next decade.

“Heathland is one of the UK’s rarest habitats and the wildlife that live here are endangered. Seeing the Small Heath butterfly re-emerge on Kinver Edge, in the area which was restored back in 2014, is a visual reminder of the reasons why we’re saving this important habitat and the wildlife that call it home.

“Restoring this heathland landscape has encouraged the growth of larval foodplants, which caterpillars feed on, as well as nectar sources, such as heather, for adult butterflies to feed on. Essentially, this kind of habitat benefits all stages of a butterfly’s life cycle.”