The Emmett Hill nature reserve near Minety is set to quadruple in size.

The move is part of a multi-million pound national spend by the Wildlife Trust.

It has bought 44 acres of land at Upper Minety and intends to introduce a rare marsh butterfly.

The effort to boost the recovery of nature is backed by broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who said that “if given a chance – nature is capable of extraordinary recovery”.

To help the fritillary butterfly the nature reserve will introduce a type of plant the insect likes to feed on.

The blue devil’s-bit scabious plant is its preferred food source

The Wiltshire scheme is one of ten projects across the UK announced this week by the Wildlife Trusts coalition.

These include projects to transform an ex-golf course for nature, re-wild a village and restore Ice Age “ghost” ponds.

They also include restoring arable fields to heathland and improving wildflower meadows.

The trusts have raised almost £8 million since launching a campaign to drive the recovery of nature across 30% of land by 2030 six months ago, including £900,000 from the public.

“The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to secure 30% of our land and sea for nature’s recovery by 2030 offers us the vision and level of ambition that is urgently needed to reverse the loss of nature, and so improve all our lives,” added Sir David.

“We are facing a global extinction crisis which has implications for every one of us.“It’s tempting to assume that the loss of wildlife and wild places is a problem that’s happening on the other side of the world.

“The truth is that the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries on the planet and the situation is getting worse.”

Wildlife Trusts chief executive Craig Bennett said: “Just protecting the nature we have left is not enough; we need to put nature into recovery, and to do so at scale and with urgency.

“We need to transform nature-poor areas into new nature-rich places – and change the way we think about land, looking for opportunities to help nature outside traditional nature reserves.”

The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has described a recent national report on the declining state of nature as “a serious wake-up call” for action to restore the county’s wildlife.

The 2019 State of Nature report shows that wildlife is continuing to decline across England, with 35% of species having seen their numbers decline since 1970 and as many as one in seven now facing extinction.

Butterflies have been hit particularly hard since 1970; despite a good summer this year, overall numbers are down by 23% and those of species that require more specialised habitats are down by more than 75%.

England’s mammals are also under increasing threat, with more than 27% of species at risk of disappearing altogether.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Dr Gary Mantle MBE said: "The shocking conclusions of this report mirror what we see here in Wiltshire on a daily basis. Our wonderful county is blessed with an incredible range of habitats and animal and plant species, but behind the scenes these are becoming more endangered by the day.

"The iconic curlew is a case in point: numbers have decreased by as much as 85% over recent decades, with just 10 breeding pairs now left in Wiltshire and maybe only one pair managing to raise chicks this year.

"There is a very real risk of breeding curlew disappearing across large areas of the UK in the near future. In the Braydon Forest, once a stronghold for breeding curlew, the Trust is working with local landowners in a new programme to survey the area, monitor and help protect breeding curlew on their land, but we face an uphill task to rescue this species."