UK's only dragonfly nature reserve opens
This May sees the official opening of Foxearth Meadows, Britain’s only nature reserve managed primarily for dragonflies and damselflies
Foxearth Meadows is an 11-acre site on the Essex-Suffolk border that is home to 21 species of dragonflies and damselflies, including the magnificent emperor dragonfly, which – with a body length of almost 8cm – is among Britain’s largest insects.
The site is owned and managed by Christian conservation charity A Rocha UK Conservation and the opening event, from 12-4pm on 13 May, will include pond dipping, guided walks, a quiz trail, wild art workshops, wood carving and even model dragonfly making.
"For its size, Foxearth Meadows is Britain’s richest site for dragonflies and damselflies. It has the potential to be the leading small site for the study of these amazing creatures,' says A Rocha UK Conservation Director Andy Lester.
UK dragonfly fact file
Emperor dragonfly ©Getty
- There are two distinct sub-orders of dragonflies, the Zygoptera or damselfly and the Anisoptera or dragonfly
- The sub-order Anisoptera (dragonfly) translates as unequal-winged, because their hind wings are usually shorter and broader than their forewings
- There are about 30 species of dragonfly in Great Britain and Ireland
- Unlike most other insects, there are just three stages in the life-cycle of a dragonfly – the pupal stage is removed as the larva turns to an adult is what is known as incomplete metamorphosis
- Dragonflies are most active in the hours around noon, when temperatures are highest
For more information on Foxearth Meadows and its official opening day, visit www.arocha.org.uk/meet-us-at-foxearth-meadows/
Danny is the outdoors editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.
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