This week hundreds of wildflowers have been planted on four iron-age barrows at Normanton Down just across the A303 from Stonehenge.

These flowers include the classic chalk grassland herbs; kidney and horseshoe vetch, common rockrose, wild thyme, dropwort, harebell, small scabious and devil’s-bit scabious.

The wildflowers were collected as seed from nearby Salisbury Plain and grown on by Heritage Seeds.

They have been specially chosen as they are the main food plants of the caterpillars of iconic chalk downland butterflies, such as the chalkhill blue, adonis blue, brown argus and marsh fritillary.

The work is part of the Save our Magnificent Meadows project, a partnership of 11 organisations, led by Plantlife, who are carrying out work across the UK to help transform the fortunes of vanishing meadows, grasslands and wildlife. The project is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Leading the work at Stonehenge is the RSPB which manages the Normanton Down nature reserve on private farmland for ground nesting birds and downland wildlife.

RSPB site manager Patrick Cashman said: “These barrows already support fragments of a once more widespread flower-rich downland landscape, and we are taking this opportunity to top them up with key butterfly food plants, so their warm southern flanks can become new homes for butterflies from nearby Salisbury Plain and help provide stepping stones into the wider landscape."

Beth Thomas, English Heritage’s Stonehenge site co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to see the historic monuments being treasured for their relict ancient grassland, and having their profile raised as a resource to help reconnect the natural and historic landscape.”