Work starts on £25-million Butterfly World project

PUBLISHED: 19:22 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010

Emilia Fox

Emilia Fox

WORK has started on the eco-friendly access road which will lead to the site of the £25-million Butterfly World complex in Chiswell Green. The project, which was launched earlier in the year by Sir David Attenborough, will be a world-class visitor attrac

WORK has started on the eco-friendly access road which will lead to the site of the £25-million Butterfly World complex in Chiswell Green.

The project, which was launched earlier in the year by Sir David Attenborough, will be a world-class visitor attraction and a massive conservation initiative once completed in spring 2011.

The walk-through experience will be the biggest in the world with more than 10,000 tropical butterflies filling the 100m biome, which is expected to attract up to one million visitors a year.

In-keeping with the conservation agenda for the entire self-sustaining development, the first task for the project team is to construct the eco-friendly, wildlife-attracting access road, Miriam Lane.

It is named after the late Dame Miriam Rothschild, whose maiden name was Lane, and who was a great inspiration to Butterfly World and the project's Scientific Advisor until she died in 2005.

The lane, which is currently a brownfield site, will be flanked on either side with 6,900 hedge scrubs and more than 230 trees - providing a continuous corridor for wildlife habitat.

Celebrating the cutting of the first sod to make way for the road was British actress and project patron Emilia Fox, alongside project founder Clive Farrell and landscape designer Ivan Hicks.

Emilia said: "I am very excited to see the first landmark steps of construction on this tremendously worthwhile project. With five of Britain's butterfly varieties disappearing in the last century and the number of species on the priority endangered species list having more than doubled in 12 years, the statistics are frightening. I am delighted to be supporting a project which looks to address this."

She added: "That this conservation scheme begins as it means to go on - creating the access road which is also a haven for wildlife - shows the level of passion and environmental commitment from the project team."

Ivan Hicks, the chief landscape designer and gardener and one of the masterminds behind the project added: "Many of Britain's indigenous butterflies and other animal and plant life are hugely dependent on meadows and hedgerows. For this reason, Miriam Lane, like so much of the outside space on this project, is designed to create as natural a habitat as possible, ensuring Britain's wildlife can thrive."

"From the planting of 231 specimen trees to the sowing of wildflower and woodland seed mix, everything about this lane will be as environmentally friendly as possible. Even maintenance will be carefully managed to encourage bio-diversity, meaning no mowing of the edges is permitted!"

For more information visit www.butterfly-world.org

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