About the Upper Thames Branch

Founded in 1982, the Branch aims to protect butterflies, moths and their habitats in the three counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire, which includes the beautiful rolling hills of the open Downs and wooded Chilterns, the broad vales of Oxford and Aylesbury with the ancient Bernwood complex, the edge of the picturesque Cotswolds and the threatened heathlands of south-east Berkshire. The Branch has around 1500 members, and it is managed by the membership on an entirely voluntary basis.

The three counties are home to three-quarters of the 58 British species of butterfly and two-thirds of the 900 or so British macro-moths. Most notable amongst the butterflies are the Black Hairstreak, with half the UK colonies being found in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and the Adonis Blue and Silver-spotted Skipper, which have their most northerly UK populations in the Chilterns.
Amongst the macro-moths Buckinghamshire is considered to be one of the strongholds of the Striped Lychnis, a population of the Heart Moth is to be found in Berkshire, and colonies of the Barberry Carpet and Pale Shining Brown have recently been discovered in west Oxfordshire.
The Branch regularly monitors the butterflies and moths within the three counties. Butterfly atlases were published in 1994, 2005 and 2016. Eighteen species of butterfly receive special attention through our Species Champion programme.
Thanks to the generosity of Beaconsfield Town Council the Branch has its own reserve at Holtspur Bottom near Beaconsfield, Bucks. The northern side of Holtspur Valley has been transformed by volunteer effort from derelict agricultural land back to species-rich chalk grassland, and over the last few years the Green Hairstreak, Small Blue, Dark Green Fritillary, Chalkhill Blue and Striped Lychnis have all been recorded here.

During the winter we carry out conservation work at several sites, including regular work parties at our own reserve, and we arrange a limited number of indoor events. Most notable amongst these are our Members' Day in late October or early November and our Conservation Action Day in February or March. During the spring and summer we have a programme of Field Meetings across the three counties. You can find details of our programme in the Events section.
Butterfly and/or moth records are very welcome (from members and non-members), and information on submitting them is given in our Your Records section. Non-members are also very welcome to attend any of our events which are listed on the Events page.
If you would like to become a member of Butterfly Conservation you will receive the national magazine, Butterfly, and automatic membership of the Upper Thames Branch if you live in the area. You will also receive our Branch newsletter which is produced three times a year. Please join us now and help save our butterflies, moths and their habitats.