Merrow Downs: flora, butterflies and conservation

a talk given by Gillian and Ken Elsom for MRA Autumn Meeting on Zoom, 19/10/2020
Some useful information for MRA members arising from this meeting by G & K Elsom

Useful references and websites:


• If you are interested in learning about & recording plants in Surrey join Surrey Botanical Society

• For a beginners guide to flora with excellent photos see ‘Harrap’s Wild Flowers A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain & Ireland’, Simon Harrap, 2013, ISBN: 9781472966483

• For a more comprehensive, very well illustrated and up to date guide to plants try ‘Collins Wild Flower Guide, 2nd Edition’, David Streeter, 2016, ISBN: 9780008156756, see

• If you are interested in learning about native orchids in the UK join the Hardy Orchid Society, see

For a pocket guide to orchids see ‘A Pocket Guide to the Orchids of Britain and Ireland’, Simon Harrap, 2016, ISBN: 9781472969095

• For the most recent and beautifully illustrated guide to orchids see ‘Britain’s Orchids, A Field Guide to the Orchids of Great Britain and Ireland’, Sean Cole and Mike Waller, 2020, ISBN: 9780691177618 or

• If you are interested in learning about & recording butterflies in Surrey join Butterfly Conservation

• If you would like to walk a butterfly transect contact Bill Downey, the BC Surrey Transect Coordinator, volunteers are needed, see

• Best pocket butterfly field guide for beginners ‘Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland, Second Edition’, Richard Lewington, 2015, ISBN: 9781472967176

See also ‘The Butterflies of Surrey Revisited’ (Surrey Wildlife Atlas Series), 2013, ISBN: 9780955618840!/Butterflies-of-Surrey-Revisited/p/116649747/category=31407261

• The best website on butterflies in the UK apart from BC

• Best free app for recording butterflies iRecord Butterflies

• The most comprehensive book on ‘Life Cycles of British and Irish Butterflies’, Peter Eeles, 2019, ISBN: 9781874357889

• One of the most inspiring book on butterflies ‘The Butterfly Isles’, Patrick Barkham, 2010, ISBN: 9781783784585

• If you would like to help with future conservation work on North Downs let BC Surrey Conservation Volunteers know Contact is Bill Downey

• See ‘Small Blues in Surrey’ Facebook public group

• See also ‘Wealden Wood Whites’ Facebook public group for conservation work to protect Surrey’s rarest butterfly, the Wood White

• If you would just like to help with conservation on Merrow Downs, contact MRA Environment Officer: Stephen Rudd, who will forward details of any specific work parties undertaken by BC Surrey Conservation Volunteers on Merrow Downs