I read about the butterfly decline noticed by people all around the country, described by Patrick Barkham (Record low UK butterfly count is ‘a shock and mystery’, 10 October). I don’t find it so much of a mystery, having spent the summer planning for and walking from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh on what we called a Bee Line.

This initiative was triggered by a visit in September 2014 to our former farm on the edge of Salisbury Plain. When we moved there in the late 1940s, there were permanent pastures, hedges and ancient drove roads lined with wayfarers’ trees and carpeted with wildflowers – orchids, harebells, trefoils – and abuzz with bees, butterflies, dragonflies and pollinators of all kinds. Now, 60 years on, it is a silent landscape; no cows, chickens, sheep, or even farm workers, just contractors, and of course no birds, butterflies, bees or flying insects. Between 30 August and 6 September we followed our Bee Line, walking some 80km from Edinburgh to our home along small roads, footpaths, cycle tracks, disused railway lines, through open moorland. We saw few butterflies, moths or bees and even noted a lack of midges.

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Source: Guardian Environment