Matthew Oates' lifelong interest in butterflies began in the landscape around Knepp over 50 years ago.
Poet, author of In Pursuit of Butterflies, broadcaster, ecologist and life member of Butterfly Conservation, he works as the National Trust’s Specialist on Nature, particularly leading work on butterflies, spirit of place and media.
The Purple Emperor is very much his specialist subject area, his life's work.
"Knepp Wildlands gives me the opportunity to give back to a landscape that gave me so much as a boy. And I am fervently behind the rewilding cause, and in particular the development of large scale new age pasture woodland under extensive grazing, and the move away from target and prescription-driven nature conservation. The fact that the Wildlands now support the strongest population of the Purple Emperor in the country is almost secondary, I’d be here anyway – embracing its wondrous future. Knepp keeps calling me home."