Bentley Wood

 

Bentley Wood (Bentley Wood Trust), SE Wilts.  A large wood on varying geology.  Purple Emperors are widespread, but sallows are best on the clay lands of the wood’s southern third.  Emperor hunters gather in hordes in the SE sector of the wood, particularly in the car park at SU 258292 where there is a wrongfully-assumed 'Master Tree' (instead, males gather over the large stand of tall oaks across the lane from the car park).  Emperors descend to the surface of the main E-W lane, called The Switchback, which runs past the main car park.  Easy access.   If you want fewer people, then visit the SW sector of the wood, parking in the small car park at the W end of The Switchback at SU 237287.  From there, you can also visit the Wilts Wildlife Trust’s Blackmoor Copse reserve, which was founded by IRP Heslop, though Emperors are not easy to see there.  Good for other July butterflies, especially Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral and White-letter Hairstreak.