Have you seen a Purple Emperor? Butterfly spotted at Sheringham Park

Purple Emperor. Picture: National Trust

Purple Emperor. Picture: National Trust - Credit: �NTPL/Rod Edwards

One of Britain's most elusive butterflies has twice been spotted at the National Trust's Sheringham Park in north Norfolk.

The Purple Emperor is Britain's second-largest butterfly and has a wing span of 8cm.

It's rarely seen in the county, preferring larger woodlands in southern England, and spends most of its time flying high in the tree canopy.

At Sheringham Park, the viewing towers overlook the tree tops, giving rangers and visitors a fighting chance to spot one.

National Trust butterfly specialist Matthew Oates has spent almost 50 years chasing Purple Emperors around the country. Butterflying from childhood, he has kept a diary of his findings since 1952.

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He said: 'At Sheringham Park the National Trust is looking after the sallows the butterfly favours. Recently, people have worked out how to look for this elusive giant, which is why it's been discovered at Sheringham. I'm delighted that Norfolk has declared itself well and truly Purple.'

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