The sharp eyed amongst you might have spotted a butterfly on our Lavender & Oatmilk Wrapped Soap. It's an Adonis Blue, one of the rarest butterflies in England. It was thought to be extinct in many parts of the country, but the last few years has seen a revival, particularly on the common land surrounding Soap Folk HQ.
Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons – both owned and managed by the National Trust – are grazed by herds of free ranging cows that munch on the rich, herby grasses.
The cows are owned by local farmers, who enjoy ancient grazing rights. They are sweet, docile creatures, unfazed by most things (that's the cows, not farmers) which means from May to October man and beast live companionably side by side. We learn to keep our garden gates shut unless we want some heavy handed pruning - yes, we learnt this the hardway - and of course to slow down on the roads.
The cows help create the best conditions for plants such as Cowslip, Horse Vetch, Rock Rose and Thyme that butterflies and insects love to feed from, and in early summer the commons come alive with rare orchids, buzzing insects and low swooping bats. It really is a very special place and the butterflies love it.
Thanks to the conservation efforts of the National Trust and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the Adonis Blue is enjoying something of a revival, and their numbers have steadily grown. This year over 2000 are thought to have emerged.
By way of celebration, we asked Susie Hetherington to include the butterfly in her design for our Lavender & Oatmilk wrap. We think the Adonis Blue is very much at home amongst the nectar rich lavender flowers.
If you are in the area and have a couple of hours of free for butterfly spotting, or indeed, cow spotting, we recommend the National Trust's Rodborough Common butterfly walk - it's not too demanding and includes a stop at Winstone's ice cream parlour. Perfect for children. The ice cream is made from the organic milk of the cows you are likely to pass on your walk. How's that for provenance!
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