Violet Click Beetles
As active land managers, we’re delighted to be funding a study that we hope will create new habitats for the rare violet click beetle, helping to safeguard the future of this endangered species.
The violet click beetle breeds in the hollow trunks of ancient trees. This extremely rare, elusive beetle is only found at three sites in the whole of the UK. Windsor Great Park is home to the largest known population of the species in the UK. Our veteran trees have provided the violet click beetle with valuable habitats for many years, with sightings first recorded here in 1937.
This beetle is found only in the heart of decayed ancient trees; in the UK only in ash and beech. There are few suitable trees that provide this specific habitat and their numbers are in decline. One of the host trees at Windsor Great Park fell in the Great Storm of 1987 and was re-erected for the sole reason of preserving habitat for the violet click beetle.
We’re funding and supporting a study to explore the decay process which makes Windsor’s beech trees a suitable habitat for violet click beetles. We are also investigating whether the fungi from veteran trees can be transferred to younger trees to create new habitats for the species.
Our partners include the Natural England and City of London Corporation, which manages Epping Forest, home to many veteran trees. We hope that the study findings will enable our partners and other organisations caring for veteran trees to successfully establish habitats to support additional violet click beetle populations.
Through this project, we also plan to share insights into our veteran trees with visitors, adding value for them. Windsor Great Park is home to one of the greatest collections of ancient trees in the world. These give character to the landscape and connecting to times past, helping to attract visitors and contributing positively to people’s experiences at Windsor.