Date: 26th July 2008
Location: Devil's Dyke, Cambridgeshire
Camera: Nikon D300
Lens Nikon 105mm AFS VR Macro
Exposure: 1/125 F13 ISO250
It's safe to say that chalk downland, the natural home of the Chalkhill Blue, is not a common feature of East Anglia. However, on the Suffolk Cambridgeshire border near Newmarket a layer of chalk does come to the surface. Sadly, very little natural, unimproved grassland remains in the area, but one location still provides a sanctury for chalk loving species, the Devil's Dyke.
This strange feature is a huge, 7.5 mile long man-made earthwork, believed to date from the Anglo Saxon era. Its original purpose may be unclear, but its steep, south west facing slope provides a perfect, if slightly excentric recreaction of a chalk downland hillside. The beneficiaries are a range of specialist plants and insects including a thriving colony of Chalkhill Blues. The butterflies have one generation and are usually on the wing from the end of July.