Since much of the parish of Binsted lies within the South Downs National Park, and the whole of the Alice Holt forest is also situated within the parish boundary, we enjoy an exceptional variety of local wildlife.

The Purple Emperor: Perhaps the king of this magical collection is this large and extremely rare butterfly, which lives high in the oak trees of Alice Holt forest. The butterfly seems brown, until you’re lucky enough to get close to one (and if it opens its wings!), when you’ll see a magnificent flash of purple. In the summer months, butterfly watchers gather in numbers, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive Emperor. Sighting it is particularly difficult, as it makes only occasional forays to the forest floor, to dine on animal dung.

Whether or not you manage to see the Emperor in real life, we hope you’ll enjoy the photos in the gallery below – as you will see, we have some excellent local wildlife photographers. Thanks to all who have so generously shared their wonderful photographs with us.

Purple Emperor butterfly