Botany Bay


Botany Bay (FC), Chiddingfold Forest, SW Surrey / W Sussex border. 
Purple Emperor occurs somewhat diffusely throughout these FC woods, with highly localised breeding grounds.  Many of the ride-side sallows are probably not in suitable condition for breeding, but there is a scatter of stands of old sallow where the butterfly must be breeding, and some impressive young sallow growth is developing in recent clear-fells.  Strangely, though, Emperors have the habit of descending to the rides here in reasonable numbers, especially in good weather. 
There are no real hot spot areas, especially as a male assembly point known as The Triangle was felled a few years ago.  A few reasonable male territories are known, around high points, but it is hard to see more than one or two Emperors there.  The best assembly area is off FC land, the line of tall old oaks along the C road (High Street) at the north end of Botany Bay.  You can park at the north end of Botany Bay, SU 978347, and walk down the main ride, going either straight or right at the fork.  Alternatively you can park at the south end of Tugley Wood, near Fisherlane Cottages, at SU 983331, and walk up.  There is also a good breeding area at the turning circle at the end of the main ride in Fisherlane Wood, at SU 981324.  Emperors are also seen in and around the BC reserve at Oaken Wood.