In 2018, Butterfly Conservation will celebrate their 50th anniversary as the national charity dedicated to the conservation of butterflies and moths. As part of events being held to celebrate this milestone, the Richard Seager Annual Arts Award is delighted that Butterfly Conservation has agreed to be the recipient of the 2018 commission. This is a charity which Richard Seager supported for many years, and would also have marked his 100th birthday – an event he would be very annoyed to have missed.

Butterfly Conservation has decided that the most appropriate commission would be a new entrance gate in to the main part of their Rough Bank reserve in Gloucestershire. This will be set into a newly built Cotswold stone wall which was completed in 2016 by The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens together with local contractors, as a project funded by the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust and the Summerfield Charitable Trust, in addition to a memorial donation.


The winner will receive:

  • a commission to make their winning design
  • £3,000 towards their costs
  • bespoke business mentoring either during the making of the commission, or after completion of the commission, depending on their individual preference
  • Butterfly Conservation will organise an event to celebrate the completion of the commission and its installation on site. This will be held in late June/early July (date to be confirmed)
  • Butterfly Conservation’s members’ magazine, Butterfly, will include an article about the winner, their design and the Richard Seager Annual Arts Award after the event celebrating the installation of the gate at the Rough Bank reserve.

The winner will work closely with staff and volunteers at Butterfly Conservation throughout the construction process.

The finalists will receive:

  • £100 to enable them to undertake additional work on their applications prior to interview with the Judges
  • The names of the finalists, and information about their business will be published on the Award website
  • Butterfly Conservation will promote the commission via social media and email, including 800 Gloucestershire branch members and local craft organisations. The winning design will be featured in Butterfly magazine, which is sent to over 33,000 members, as well as corporate supporters and conservation organisations. Promotion will link directly to the Richard Seager Annual Arts Award website.

Key dates:

1 December 2017 – open call for applications
31 January 2018 – application closing date
9 February 2018 – finalists notified by email
10-25 February 2018 – optional reserve visit for finalists, escorted by Butterfly Conservation staff/volunteers
26 February 2018 – finalists interviewed at Kingston School of Art, part of Kingston University London
2 March 2018 – winner announced
31 May 2018 – commission completed and installed at reserve
Late June/early July 2018 – official opening event at reserve.



The Award is open to individuals or groups who:

  • are students in the United Kingdom at a specialist school, further education college or university
  • has completed a further education course or graduated (including MA, Phd and Research Fellows) within the last 3 years


Purpose of the gate:

The gate will be installed in an existing aperture in the drystone wall that has been left specifically for this purpose. This aperture could be framed with large timber upright posts and a header beam, made from a mature felled oak that grew on the reserve, or the winning design may instead choose to incorporate its own frame. This gateway will be part of the main (recommended) entrance to the key habitat area of the reserve and is about 400 metres along a track from the reserve car park. It will lead the visitor from the open grassy trackway of the “Access Strip” into and through a corner of the shady woodland of veteran beech and tall ash trees before they emerge again onto the sunny slope of The Bank. This steeply sloping bluff opens out above the narrow valley of the Dillay Brook – the head of the Slad Valley. This is the landscape that was Laurie Lee’s childhood playground.

Technical specification:

The gate should be:

  • in keeping with the natural beauty of the surrounding area, possibly incorporating a decorative arch, and may be made of any material or combination of materials
  • able to become an iconic part of the reserve’s identity: attracting visitors outside of the butterfly flying season and enriching their experience of the site
  • made to the specified minimum dimensions, self-closing with a strong latch, which is easy to operate from both inside and outside of the reserve
  • hinged on the right-hand side, it must open inwards to the Access Strip and when closed be able to withstand cattle leaning and rubbing against it
  • of sturdy construction, able to withstand varying weather conditions over a long period of time and requiring minimal maintenance
  • a minimum of 1200 mm high with ground clearance of 75-100 mm to keep grazing cattle in the Access Strip
  • suitable for public access by pedestrians and mobility scooters. There is a separate stock gate for cattle further along the wall
  • compliant with BS5709 relating to standards for footpath gates (although this is not on a Right of Way).

Additional information:

There is a car park at the entrance to the reserve, and access to the gate site by a 4-wheel drive type vehicle is possible via the bridleway through Little Myers. Cattle graze throughout the whole site (Great Myers, Little Myers and Rough Bank) at various stages during each year, but can be kept out of the Access Strip when necessary.

As part of the land management of the site, oak has been felled, which could be used in the construction of the gate/gateposts. Green chestnut may also be available from another reserve. Any applicant wishing to use this resource should contact Becky Miners at Butterfly Conservation (by email at, or by phone on 01929 406043) to arrange a site visit to check whether the wood available is suitable and the practicalities involved in moving it.

The reserve is open to members of the public. However, if an applicant feels that they would benefit from visiting the reserve with a member of Butterfly Conservation, please contact Becky Miners (by email at, or by phone on 01929 406043) to arrange a mutually convenient appointment.

Please see:

– Appendix A for photographs of the gateway annotated with dimensions
– Appendix B for a map of the reserve, showing the position of the gate
– Appendix C for photographs of the felled oak with approximate dimensions.


Butterfly Conservation promotes and secures the conservation management of habitats for butterflies and moths through monitoring, research and advocacy, as well as direct advice and management of sites throughout the United Kingdom. It is also engaged with international conservation measures for Lepidoptera.

Rough Bank is one of Butterfly Conservation’s flagship reserves – it was purchased with the enthusiastic support of our members and benefactors, as well as Natural England, and with great encouragement from The National Trust. Its designation as part of the Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods National Nature Reserve emphasises its exceptional quality as flowery limestone grassland habitat. That importance is very evident in the richness of butterflies and moths that it supports: – the six species of “Blue” butterfly* (Lycaenidae) are emblematic of the rich grassland assemblage and the astounding 630 species of moth recorded so far, including 44 that are nationally rare or scarce.
(*Common, Small, Holly, Chalk-Hill and Adonis Blue, plus Brown Argus).

The Lycaenidae family (which includes the hairstreaks and coppers) are all thought to have associations with ants during some or all stages of their life cycle. The degrees of association vary greatly between species and many details are still poorly understood and difficult to study. Some of these butterflies cannot complete their life stages without the presence of particular species of ant to tend and protect them. Chemical signalling and the production of rewarding sweet secretions are the means by which the butterfly larvae make the relationship with their host ants. Managing habitats for such butterflies therefore entails ensuring that the ants’ needs are provided for and this broader scope approach to caring for our reserves also benefits the wider range of wildlife.

The Rough Bank reserve is managed by Butterfly Conservation staff and volunteers, in close partnership with The National Trust and Natural England, as well as with the support of the Cotswold AONB Volunteers, neighbouring farmers and local contractors. Butterfly Conservation also works with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, local councils, and other bodies on delivering the vital landscape-scale conservation measures which are the only way of ensuring special sites like Rough Bank can thrive in a local network of conservation habitats.


Appendix A – Gateway with measurements and Rough Bank gate aperture dimensions

Please note that some of the scrub and trees behind the gate will be cleared to enhance the setting of the gate and the stone wall. The posts and rails in the photograph are temporary measures to block the gap.


Appendix B – Map of the reserve showing the location of the gate

Appendix C – Photograph of felled oak with approximate dimensions 3.5m x 60cm, narrowing to 40cm diameter


Photographs and further details of Rough Bank’s special species, together with other key sites in the Painswick Valley where major conservation projects are underway can be found here:

Butterflies and moth species found at Rough Bank

Rough Bank reserve tour