Conservationist-with-a-mission Dr Martin Warren is embarking on a 100-mile coastal hike to highlight the plight of British butterflies. Seven out of 10 butterfly species are in decline, some facing possible extinction. In a bid to increase public awareness and raise funds for urgent conservation action, Martin will be walking the length of the Devon and Dorset's Heritage Jurassic Coast from Exmouth to Durlston, near Swanage.
The walk starts at 10.00 on Monday, 25 July, from on Exmouth seafront and the official finish will be at 17.00 on Sunday, 31 July, at the Prince Albert Memorial Gardens at Swanage. Along the route Martin, who is head of the charity Butterfly Conservation, will be involved in numerous publicity events. He will be meeting with several key figures from the world of conservation and Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight (16.00, Saturday, 30 July, at Lulworth Cove). Seeing him off from Exmouth will be actress Thelma Barlow, best known for her roles in 'Dinner Ladies' and 'Coronation Street', in which she played Mavis. Her interest in wildlife began 30 years ago when she took up organic gardening. She said: 'I am delighted to be supporting Dr Martin Warren. Butterflies are so beautiful I'm sure there will be great interest in the walk and enthusiasm for what he is trying to achieve.'
Butterflies and moths have gained immense significance because of growing awareness that, being more sensitive to change than either plants or birds, they can act as a barometer of a healthy environment. Martin Warren said: 'They are also indicators of climate change. Although most of our native butterflies are in decline many exotic migrants, especially moths, are arriving on our shores each year as a result of global warming. I will be hoping to see some of them during my hike.'