Display of the moths found in a Cornish garden managed for wildlife

by Stephen Hewitt | Published 27 June 2019

Close-up of a moth sitting on wood
23 June 2019: This elephant hawk-moth was one of dozens of live moths on display at an open day at Lethytep, a 52-acre garden in Cornwall with extensive wildflower meadows. The moths were caught at Lethytep the night before by a team of experts including John Nicholls, a member of the Cornwall branch of registered charity Butterfly Conservation. A printed notice near them read “Please note:- all these moths were caught by experts and will be released unharmed at the end of the day”

On 23 June 2019 dozens of live moths were on display at an open day at Lethytep, a 52-acre private garden in Cornwall managed for wildlife by its owners and located at Penadlake, Lanreath, PL13 2PG. (See Map)

The elephant hawk-moth in the photograph and several others were on a piece of wood in the open air, free to fly away, but they all remained motionless while visitors observed and photographed them. Each of the other moths was motionless in its own transparent plastic box.

The open garden day - admission £5 for adults - was raising money for the Cornish Wildlife Trust (registered charity number 214929).

The Lethytep website lethytep.co.uk explained: “We are Philip and Faith Hambly, and since retirement we have transformed 52 acres of meadows, lakes and ancient woodland into habitats that we manage for wildlife.” It continued by saying that the although garden was not open to the general public “you are welcome to visit Lethytep either on our advertised Open Days or by prior booking on a group basis” and that they did not charge for admission, but instead invited a donation to charity.

In a wooden hut near a lake in the garden I found the visitors' book containing many glowing comments. By this day in June, there were around 146 entries since the start of the month.

The hut also contained albums of high quality photographs of the flora and fauna of Lethytep taken by Philip Hambly. One photograph showed a humming bird hawk-moth, frozen in crystal-clear detail in mid-hover, its long, hair-like proboscis reaching into a flower. Another showed a squacco heron, a species of bird that was described in an unrelated BBC report from 2012 as “a bird rarely seen in England”.

Other photographs showed groups of people walking in the garden, labelled for example “Cornwall Council Landscape Institute June 2018”

For a five pound donation to charity, you could take a DVD of Philip Hambly's photographs, made into a film which pans and fades from one photograph to the next.

Another open day and moth display was scheduled at Lethytep for 6 July 2019 in aid of registered charities Plantlife and Butterfly Conservation, Philip Hambly himself being chairman of the Cornwall branch of Butterfly Conservation.

patches of yellow and white in a meadow, trees behind
23 June 2019: A wildflower meadow at Lethytep, a 52-acre garden in Cornwall managed for wildlife by its owners


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