Butser Hill in the Spring is covered in the flowers of the Common cowslip, particularly on the northern and western slopes but also along the A3 verges and the South Downs Way.

The Cowslip’s name is thought to originate from the old English for cow dung as its flowers were commonly seen in grazing meadows. Traditionally the flowers were used to flavour wine and vinegar.

This semi-evergreen perennial is found throughout Europe and Asia although in this country it has been threatened by the agricultural improvement of grasslands.


The slopes on Butser have not now been disturbed for 50 years and  as a consequence numbers of Cowslip are growing every year.

Additional benefit from the large numbers comes from the fact that the leaves are a key food plant for the larval stage of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly.

This extremely scarce butterfly is found over much of Butser Hill and we are lucky enough to have what is probably its largest stronghold in the UK.

Over a 24 hour period from 4pm on Saturday the 10th August through to the same time on the 11th, there will be a BioBlitz event at the Country Park. This is open to the public with the simple aim to find as many species as possible across the Park. Last year over 600 were identified. More information at www.hants.gov.uk/qecp