Trip to the local butterfly zoo
There aren't a great deal of attractions for the tourist in Herefordshire, but one that I like to visit at least once a year is the butterfly zoo in Symonds Yat. This is between Ross on Wye and Monmouth in South Wales and is close to the Forest of Dean (another place worth visiting).
You have to pay to park your car but the car park is spacious and I have always been able to find a space here. You can get some of your parking fee back when you go into the butterfly zoo or one of the other attractions that are here.
The staff are always friendly and helpful here, and if this is your first visit they will give you tips at where to look for caterpillars as well as a laminated information sheet with details of the different types of butterflies and moths that you will find here. They will also give you a good sized magnifying glass if you want one - great for little kids who might not spot things as quickly as adults.
The butterfly zoo itself is small, but has a fair few different specie of butterflies, moths and caterpillars. You can actually watch butterflies emerging from their chrysallis, if you are lucky, through a window into the incubator. that's inside the zoo.
There are various plants and flowers from around the world here too - some are poisonous, so if you go make sure you wash your hands before leaving. .
It gets very hot in here and every now and again there seems to be a blast of cool air which seems to rustle up the butterflies - although today they were all busy flying around and some even seemed to be chasing each other.
They do land on you but gentle movement shakes them off and they certainly won't hurt you. I am not the biggest fan of creepy crawlies or flying insects but I can tolerate the butterflies - and some of them are HUGE!
A word of caution though - some butterflies seem to rest on the floor - whether it is just them warming up or what, I am not sure, but it's worth being aware of your footing and where you are stepping so as not to hurt any of them. Mostly though they are flying around or in amongst the flowers and plants.
If you want to read more about the butterfly zoo their website is here https://butterflyzoo.co.uk/
Here are some of the pictures I took today. I will try to identify the butterflies but may not be quite right as I am no expert on them.
This is an owl butterfly but the correct name for it is probably blue morpho as when it unfolds its wings its a gorgeous blue colour.
This could be a ragged Florida white. This was the only white butterfly I saw here today.
I think this is a Papilio blumei also known as a peacock or green swallowtail. This is usually found on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.
I think this is a blue Clipper butterfly.
Citrus Swallowtail (Papilio demodocus demodocus). Common to sub Saharan Africa.